From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century

by Dr. William A. (‘Sandy’) Darity Jr., Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy, African and African American Studies, and Economics and the director of the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University

April 14, 2022 Veblen-Clark Lecture

The economic divide between white and Black Americans is persistent and well-documented.  How to effectively address this divide continues to be a source of active public debate. In his recent book From Here to Equality, Dr. Darity examines the possibility of reparations for Black Americans as a way to bridge this divide, talks about the history of reparations policies, and how it raises all sorts of important questions regarding the policy justification for reparations, and discusses practical details regarding how such a policy could actually be implemented.

During his visit to Carleton Dr. Darity will also meet with students, faculty and staff to discuss his book.

History of the Veblen-Clark Lectureship Series

This series was established in 1985 to honor the memory of the two most illustrious economists ever to be associated with Carleton College.

Thorstein Veblen, born in 1857, spent much of his youth on a farm in Nerstrand, Minnesota, just 10 miles south of Northfield. Veblen graduated from Carleton with a bachelor of arts degree in 1880. He went on to earn a PhD at Yale University.

John Bates Clark, a young economist, joined Carleton’s faculty at the time of Veblen’s matriculation. Clark had been educated at Amherst College and at the University of Heidelberg. He was hired as both Professor of Political Economy and History and College Librarian. He remained at the college until 1881.

While Veblen and Clark had a mutual respect for each other’s intellect, they held dramatically divergent views regarding human behavior, social science, and economics. Each would leave Carleton to establish trails in economic theory which would be heavily followed but leading in markedly different directions.

After leaving Carleton, Clark went on to teaching positions at Smith College, Amherst College, Johns Hopkins University, and Columbia University. He was one of the pioneers of the use of marginal analysis to understand issues of resource allocation and income distribution. Among his most important contributions are The Philosophy of Wealth (1886) and The Distribution of Wealth (1899). He is considered to be one of the true founders of modern mainstream economics. The John Bates Clark medal is the highest honor awarded by the American Economics Association.

Veblen, on the other hand, forcefully challenged the foundations of mainstream economic theory. After experiencing some difficulty in landing a teaching position, Veblen’s brilliance finally overcame a variety of quirky personality traits. He obtained teaching positions at the University of Chicago, Stanford, and the University of Missouri. His most influential work is The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899), in which fundamental economic paradigms are called into question.

The Veblen-Clark Lectureship brings an outstanding scholar in economics to Carleton each year for a public lecture and meetings with students and faculty. The lectureship presumes no ideological bias, but celebrates the variety of viewpoints and paradigms demonstrated by Veblen and Clark that have historically enriched the study of economics at Carleton.

The lectureship is made possible, in part, by the Ada Harrison Fund. The fund was established to honor Professor Ada Harrison, who taught in the economics department for many years and exemplified the department’s continuing commitment to teaching excellence.

Previous Veblen-Clark Lecturers