“You Can’t Have Capitalism Without Racism — Looking Back at Malcolm X (1925-1965),” tweeted Malcolm Foley, PhD, the Special Advisor to the President of Baylor University for Equity and Campus Engagement, director of the Black Church Studies Program at Truett Theological Seminary and a pastor at Mosaic Waco in Waco, TX. He referred to this article by Hank Gonzales.
Earlier, he had tweeted, “One of the ways in which racial capitalism kills is by atrophying our ethical and theological imaginations.”
Dr. Foley is a proponent of “racial capitalism.” According to Whitney N. Laster Pirtle, PhD, in “Racial Capitalism: A Fundamental Cause of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Inequities in the United States,”
“As introduced by Robinson (1983), racial capitalism is the idea that racialized exploitation and capital accumulation are mutually constitutive. Racial capitalism created the modern world system, through slavery, colonialism, and genocide because ‘the development, organization, and expansion of capitalist society pursued essentially racial directions, so too did social ideology.’
“Racial capitalism is a fundamental cause of disease in the world and will be a root cause of the racial and socioeconomic inequities in COVID-19 that we will be left to sort out when the dust settles.”
Where did this nonsense come from? Before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, socialists argued that socialism as practiced in the Soviet Union would make people far richer than capitalism in the U.S. had. Economic professor Paul Samuelson predicted in the 1988 edition of his economic textbook, first published in 1948 and the most popular text in the field, that the U.S.S.R. would soon overtake the U.S. in living standards.
The dissolving of socialism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe destroyed the economic argument for socialism so socialists scrambled to find new rationales to replace it. If they couldn’t delude people with the bait of riches, they would use environmentalism, women’s rights, fear of globalization, rights for homosexuals, transgenderism, and racism. Whatever worked. The end justifies the means.
The “racial capitalism” nonsense is nothing more than a warmed over version Marx’s “primitive accumulation.” Marx claims that capitalists stole the capital they needed to launch the industrial revolution as well as created hordes of starving laborers by kicking peasants off the land in England, also known as the Enclosure Movement. Other Marxists attribute to Spain’s conquest of the Americas and theft of native gold and silver as another form of “primitive accumulation.”
Racial capitalism identifies primitive accumulation in the U.S. with slavery. In short, whites in the U.S. grew rich through the enslavement of blacks and we remain wealthier through systemic racism. Blacks must remain poor for whites to keep their wealth. But the great black economist Dr. Thomas Sowell countered that the theory can’t explain why Asians and immigrant blacks are wealthier than American-born blacks.
If slavery was the fount of wealth for whites in the U.S., they should have been greatly impoverished by the ending of slavery after the Civil War. Instead, the period between the Civil War and World War I gave the U.S. the mostly rapidly rising standard of living in its history. And according to Dr. Sowell, blacks came close to achieving economic parity with whites in the U.S. before the Civil Rights movement. Black standards of living fell dramatically after the Civil Rights movement.
Among other things that the erudite Dr. Foley should consider is that if slavery and theft (primitive accumulation) could enrich an entire nation, then the ancient Greeks and Romans should have launched the Industrial Revolution and become the richest people in the history of mankind long before the United States. After all, they were swimming in slaves and plunder from conquered empires. Yet, economic historians demonstrate that Europe in 1700 was as wealthy as the ancient Babylonians, Persians, Greeks and Romans.
Spain stole hundreds of shiploads of silver and gold from the Americas. All of Europe’s wise men assumed that Spain would remain the superpower of the hemisphere for centuries. Yet Spain grew poorer and weaker while the tiny Dutch Republic grew richer and more powerful. What seemed a contradiction to the wise launched the field of economic study.
The first economics book in English, Adam Smith’s An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, explains how nations and not just the elite grow wealthy: they implement Biblical principles of government. Those include a government limited to punishing people who violate the rights to life, liberty and property of others, free markets, the rule of law, honest courts, and others.
Before the good doctor can advise anyone, he must detox himself of the ravings of the atheist drunk he admires so much, Karl Marx, and learn Biblical political economics. Here is a cause of poverty:
“A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.”Proverbs 6:10-11
“He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.”Proverbs 10:4
Here is the Biblical way that people grow wealthy:
“Does not wisdom call, and understanding lift up her voice? …Riches and honor are with me, enduring wealth and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, even pure gold, and my yield better than choicest silver. I walk in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of justice, to endow those who love me with wealth, that I may fill their treasuries.”Proverbs 8:1,18-21
And Dr. Foley should know that the original capitalist economists opposed slavery. Thomas Carlyle and other proponents of slavery gave economics the title of the “dismal science” because he believed a world without slavery would be dismal.
Dr. Foley is well versed in Marxism, but Marx was wrong about almost everything. Foley needs to learn real economics and history. Unfortunately, he advises the president of one of the top Christian colleges in the country. At least it has been until now. With an advisor to the president like Dr. Foley, it won't be a top school for much longer.
Roger McKinney is the author of Financial Bull Riding and God is a Capitalist: Markets from Moses to Marx.