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Harmful economic systems: Restricting entry

1. Basic statement. Restricting entry to the harmful sector is necessary, because an income differential exists between the productive sector and the exploitative sector. If free entry, the standard assumption made in economics, were allowed into the harmful sector, incomes in the two sectors would be equalized. Barriers to entry into the harmful sector include:

  • being of a different tribe, nationality or religion
  • racism or other strong prejudice against a given group.

2. How barriers to entry work. The way barriers to entry work is to limit access to worthwhile employment, as well as other social advantages such as education and ability to marry outside of one's class or group. Typically minorities/ordinary people have been disparaged in some way—for their supposed (lack of) intelligence, personal appearance or for some other reason. People can be marginalized because of their skin color, ethnic origin, income level or indications of same, such as names.  For example in the US south before the 1960s, African Americans were not allowed to drink from the same water fountains as whites, shop in most stores, eat in the same resturants, or live in the same neighborhoods.  Their personal characteristics such as intelligence and appearance were disparaged.  They were referred to in insulting ways. Basic justice was denied them.  Schools were much worse.  Such discrimination limits peoples opportunities and diminishes their sense of self-worth. There has been a reaction against this sort of disparagement and oppression in many ways in many countries, but it still persists. 

It should be remembered that "barriers to entry" is a way of looking at one aspect of the phenomenon of harmful economic societies.  Thus the basic ways indicated in the introductory section of the main fact sheet on harmful economic systems also can be viewed from the perspective of barriers to entry.  One set of examples included conquests and empires, such as  the Norman conquest of England (Wikipedia 2013) and  the British empire (Wikipedia 2013).  Clearly when a group conquers, they intend the most substantial share of benefits for themselves, though they may parse out benefits for others, nor or are they likely to permit any substantial number of conquered people to enter the ruling class.  A second set of examples  consisted of controlling labor power in order to extract income, and included serfdom (Wikipedia 2013), and slavery (Wikipedia 2013).  Clearly there are substantial barriers to entry for a slave or a serf to leave slavery or serfdom and join the ruling classes. 

Concepts that reveal one or another aspect of the phenomenon of excluding other groups/others for group and individual advantage include prejudice (Wikipedia 2013) of various types (including racial (Wikipedia 2013), social and sexism (Wikipedia 2013) especially the social dominance aspect (Wikipedia 2013), castes (Wikipedia 2013),  social exclusion/marginalization (Wikipedia 2013), segregation (Wikipedia 2013), ghettos (Wikipedia 2013), apartheid in South Africa (Wikipedia 2013), Jim Crow (Wikipedia 2013), separate but equal (Wikipedia 2013), and anti-Semitism (Wikipedia 2013).

In India, close to a million Dalit women work as manual scavengers: labourers who are forced to empty out dry latrines with their bare hands. Photo: Neeta Lal/IPS

In India, close to a million Dalit women work as manual scavengers: labourers who are forced to empty out dry latrines with their bare hands. Photo: Neeta Lal/IPS

In India, a broken system leaves a 'broken' people powerless Neeta Lal Inter Press Service May 8, 2015  See HN special report Harmful Economic Systems: Restricting Entry

Countries have elites and people.  Here is a description of Sudan's elite. Sudan's Unbowed, Unbroken Inner Circle  Emily Wax Washington Post May 3, 2005. (You will leave this site and be required to register [once] with the Post.)

A barrier to entry is conspicuous consumption, described by Thorsten Veblen, and illustrated in this article. South Africa’s ‘bling’ culture is a disgrace William Gumede February 11, 2010

A major barrier to entry is limiting access to worthwhile employment, as well as other social advantages such as education and ability to marry outside of one's class. 

A Dalit woman stands outside a dry toilet located in an upper caste villager’s home in Mainpuri, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Photo: Shai Venkatraman/IPS

A Dalit woman stands outside a dry toilet located in an upper caste villager’s home in Mainpuri, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The village has witnessed major violence against those who have tried to leave the profession of ‘manual scavenging’. Photo: Shai Venkatraman/IPS

India’s ‘manual scavengers’ rise up against caste discrimination Shai Venkatraman Inter Press Service January 6, 2015

How social networks drive black unemployment Nancy DiTomaso New York Times May 5, 2013

A section of a half-mile long concrete wall, six feet tall and a foot or so thick, now covered with murals, built in the 1940s is shown in Detroit, March 28, 2013. The wall was built with a simple aim—to separate blacks and whites.

A section of a half-mile long concrete wall, six feet tall and a foot or so thick, now covered with murals, built in the 1940s is shown in Detroit, March 28, 2013. The wall was built with a simple aim—to separate blacks and whites.

Detroit race wall located on Birwood Street that once separated whites and blacks now haven for art Jeff Karoub Associated Press/Huntington Post May 1, 2013

Charles Moore photographed the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1958 arrest in Montgomery, Ala. King's wife, Coretta, is second from right. Photo: (© Charles Moore/Black Star)

Charles Moore photographed the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1958 arrest in Montgomery, Ala. King's wife, Coretta, is second from right. Photo: (© Charles Moore/Black Star)

Charles Moore, 79, dies; photographed civil rights violence Patricia Sullivan Washington Post March 14, 2010  More photos  [The photo above epitomizes barriers to entry, as African Americans were prohibited from eating at lunch counters where whites were served, voting, and all but menial jobs, as well as other barriers to entry into a better life.]

Johnny Williams has scrubbed his résumé of any details that might tip off his skin color. Photo: Damon Winter/The New York Times

Johnny Williams has scrubbed his résumé of any details that might tip off his skin color. Photo: Damon Winter/The New York Times

In job hunt, college degree cannot close racial gap Michael Luo New York Times November 30, 2009

For example, the Indian caste system is a system of stratification of human beings, with the Dalits or untouchables being the lowest caste, and this system has a strong religious component, as well as also being sustained by the people that benefit from the system (Wikipedia Dalit, Caste system in India). A 'broken people' in booming India: low-caste Dalits still face prejudice, grinding poverty  Emily Wax  Washington Post June 21, 2007

African-American Names Penalized During Employment Process, Study Finds Richard Morin  Washington Post, August 3, 2003. (You will leave this site and be required to register [once] with the Post.)

Other barriers to entry are lack of education, poor health, not being sufficiently 'presentable'--all 'natural' barriers that arise from poverty.

Adam Gaines, right, who spent over 13 years in prison, with his sons, Shane, left, and Adam Jr. “I didn’t have a role model,” said Adam Jr., who quit high school. Photo: Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Adam Gaines, right, who spent over 13 years in prison, with his sons, Shane, left, and Adam Jr. “I didn’t have a role model,” said Adam Jr., who quit high school. Photo: Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

In prisoners' wake, a tide of troubled kids Erik Eckholm New York Times July 4, 2009

Stopping intellectual genocide in African universities Prince Kum'a Ndumbe III University of Yaoundé, Cameroon July 18, 2007

Another way is "putting people down."  Typically minorities/ordinary people have been disparaged in some way--for their supposed (lack of) intelligence, personal appearance or for some other reason. People can be marginalized because of their skin color, ethnic origin, income level or indications of same, such as names This diminishes people's sense of self-worth, and,  combined with actual labor market discrimination based on the same sort of factors, is a major barrier to entry.  There has been a reaction against this in many ways in many countries, but it still persists. 

Ethnic pageants restyle the American beauty contest  Robertha Budy heard the insult when she was a little girl, and now, even at Georgia State University in Atlanta, she still hears it. "You're Liberian? Isn't that in Africa? You don't look like it. You're pretty." Darryl Fears Washington Post October 19, 2005 (You will leave this site and be required to register [once] with the Post.)

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