Law and Econ elements

Marta Russell ap888 at
Thu Mar 18 11:45:42 PST 1999

Back from my temporary unsubscribe ... and from a presentation of a working paper on disability, labor and employment to the UC Berkeley law school's ADA Backlash Symposium. I'd like to share some snipets from the experience.

Most people presenting papers were academicians and there were a few apologists for the Clinton administration. I expected some flack for not using what passes for "accepted" sources and for presenting a critique based on the political economy- I was proud to be able to speak in a way that presenters who were protecting their pensions could not.

My co-presenter was from Stanford. He stuck to the Law and Econ theorists like a fly stuck to flypaper. His heros - Richard Posner and Richard Epstein. Any comments on these two will be welcomed. But what was astounding was that he actually claimed that economics was NOT political. In his view, there is no political economy. Is this the standard line out there now in universities??

For Max - and EPI folks The commentator was an economist from Cornell. He was very critical of my having used EPI as a reputable source. He said "It's controlled by labor" but then proceeded to use the President's Economic report as an unbiased report of how well the economy is doing. He also tried to convince me privately that the minimum wage had contributed nothing to people's economic well being and is sending some "proof" in the mail. We might agree that the minimum wage is not a living wage but he was saying it had no valid purpose or place in the scheme of improving people's material reality. This guy calls himself left of center.

Whew! those of you who face this everyday may be used to it but I found it very disheartening. The encouraging part of the experience was that many disabled people felt that my economics centered work was of import, was filling some missing gaps, so perhaps I am beginning to make some inroads there.

Marta Russell

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