Thursday, June 02, 2005

Reparations. Slowly coming?

It may only be a matter of time before the practice of reparations (forcing companies that benefited from slavery to pay reparations to decendents of slaves) is allowed. While, all cases trying to claim damages based on reparations have been struck down, it is only a matter of time before enterprising, activist judges determine that such actions should be allowed.

Right now, local city councils of some of this nation's largest cities have or are creating ordinances that are indirectly laying the foundation to enable such actions. These ordinances require all companies that had ties to slavery to disclose them. This often means that companies perform an exhaustive records search, going back hundreds of years, trying to determine if any companies they have acquired or merged into over the past had ties to slavery.

Wachovia Bank is now in the headlines for complying with a Chicago ordinance requiring disclosure. Wachovia published a 111 page document outlining its connection while apologizing for its past connections.

It seems odd that a city would require companies to disclose their ties to slavery. Clearly, the cities want something more than an apology. Inevitably, the cities will soon ask for more.


At 11:53 AM, Blogger kevin said...

First and foremost I want to say that I am glad that slavery is history and I hope that that part of history never repeats itself, but to require a company to pay reparations to the decendants of slaves is ludicrous. What these companies did a long time ago was within the law, however unfair the law may seem it was within their rights of business practice. If companies are going to be held liable where will it stop...I can name a few US presidents who benefited from slavery, should we bankrupt america because of its actions in the past. If any action was done outside the bounds of the law then there needs to be a legal trial and justice administered by our countries legal means. Otherwise I think we should let slavery be buried in history and stop digging it up.

At 11:29 AM, Blogger jbob_sqpants said...

An economist/historian once pointed out to me that if anybody should pay reparations, it should be those that benefited the most from slavery. He pointed out that those who supplied the scarce resource (slaves), and those who consume the final goods (cotton, etc) produced by the scarce resource benefit the most. Therefore, if anyone should pay reparations it should be the original owners of the slaves (African kings) and the final consumers (European markets that purchased large amounts of cotton and tobacco).


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