Notes on a Theory…

Thoughts on politics, law, & social science

Treating All Children Like Human Beings

leave a comment »

Fund Our SchoolsBryce Wilson Stucki has an interesting piece called Breaking the School-to-Prison Pipeline: Rethinking ‘Zero Tolerance’ discussing recent efforts to challenge so called “zero tolerance” policies in public schools. Such policies, which grew out of the Drug War and political efforts to get “tough on crime,” have ended up pushing many youths out of school and into the “school to prison pipeline.”  She notes that some places have been moving in a different direction, attempting to enact a less punitive approach to discipline, in particular the adoption of restorative justice.  One example is the Kensington Creative & Performing Arts High School (KCAPA) in Philadelphia, “where about 90 percent of students are Latino or black and 100 percent are below the poverty line”. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by David Kaib

July 2, 2014 at 1:43 pm

Radio: Wall Street and the Schoolhouse

with one comment

Alexis Goldstein interviewed me on the Disorderly Conduct podcast on my three part series on Wall Street and ed reform. It was my radio debut.

You can listen to the interview here.

[Update: The other guest was Kshama Sawant. You can hear the whole episode here. And you should!]

[Update 2: You can also read the full transcript of my interview.]

And here are the posts. Don’t forget part three – it needs some love.

Wall Street and the School House Part I: The Culture of Smartness

Exploitation, Hard Work and Motivation: Wall Street and the School House Part II

Markets, Efficiency and Choice: Wall Street and the School House Part III

Dan Greene contributed some additional thoughts here:  There’s always another market: Liquidity, Wall Street and Ed Reform

 

Written by David Kaib

June 26, 2014 at 6:20 pm

Criminalization is Pretty Harmful Too

with one comment

CelaIt’s a pretty standard thing to see: in an argument about whether we should either decriminalize or legalize some thing, oftentimes the argument revolves around one thing. Is this thing harmful? The best example, although it’s not the only one, is drugs. Obviously, if the argument in favor of criminalizing something is that it’s harmful, than evidence that it is not supports ending legal prohibitions.

Is prison harmful? Is ripping apart families harmful? Is the endemic sexual assault found in prison harmful? What about the risk of violence, or the torture of solitary confinement? Or overcrowding, or lack of medical care? How about the collateral consequences of imprisonment–unemployment, being barred from public housing, food stamps, federal education aid and a whole host of professions or voting? What about the impact on communities where many people are shuffled between prison and the neighborhood? What about the police harassment that comes with hyper-aggressive law enforcement?

Few things we criminalize because they are ‘harmful’ are anywhere close as harmful as prison.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by David Kaib

June 26, 2014 at 7:53 am

What is Oligarchic Inevitability?

with 2 comments

I’ve written here before about an idea I call ‘democratic efficiency‘: the belief that one can infer popular beliefs from institutional outcomes because aggregated individual choices are manifested in an unmediated fashion in politics and policy. That means that whatever the public believes will (absent some interference in the normal functioning of our political system) automatically be translated into policy, because of competitive electoral incentives between he two major parties.  Recent research has provided even more evidence that this is not a useful way to talk about the world.  The piece that has generated the most discussion has been Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page (pdf) that tested different explanations for American politics.  While the authors don’t actually come to this conclusion, the general take away has been that this piece demonstrates that the United States is an oligarchy.

Read the rest of this entry »

There’s always another market: Liquidity, Wall Street and Ed Reform

leave a comment »

Guest post by Dan Greene

I wanted to chime in and talk about a liquidity, character, and the social mission of these institutions because I think there’s another parallel between Wall Street and ed reform that we can draw out from Karen Ho. She writes:

For Wall Street bankers, one of their key imagined social roles as ‘market doers’ is to create liquidity, to speedily unlock and allocate money (as in the takeover movement) to its ‘best’ use. Through their own immersion in the market, especially the anxious, difficult experiences of constant downsizing and reinvention, their skills and lives—embodying the market and their roles in it—have also become “more liquid.” (244)

Traders justify their high pay not only by their smartness and overwork but by their perceived social benefit: They inject liquidity into illiquid markets or commodities, they make markets where there weren’t markets before. This generates shareholder value but, by a neat trick of historical revision, shareholder value is conflated with economic value more generally. So not only are they justified in theirs risks and bailouts and what not by providing liquidity to businesses who need it, but by a sort of trickle-down cultural intervention where staid institutions are liquidated and become better able to adapt to quickly changing and increasingly global economic conditions. So bigger institutions and different people get modeled on the personal lives of financial elites: constant downsizing and reskilling is prized above all, and rewards are based on bonuses and other deal-related incentives and not on anything related to the underlying asset, let alone anything approaching a long-term investment like a salary or a pension.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by David Kaib

June 16, 2014 at 11:41 am

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,150 other followers

%d bloggers like this: