Youth Labor Prison Terror: An Economist’s Meditation on Human Disposability
My presentation examines the role of intergenerational conflict, globalization, and technical change in creating and sustaining an economically surplus population of the young. By rationing access to crucial developmental resources—particularly schools, capital, and employment—our economic system creates the marginal, disproportionately young, populations who constitute the disposable raw material for other sectors of the social order. This includes those criminals who do the “dirty work” of selling their labor and bodies for the pleasure and profit of others. Similarly, terrorists are the laborers who provide social rage in orders where political control excludes the vast majority from meaningful participation in the political process. In response, violence, whether in the form of the prison or military force, is the method of choice for controlling youthful populations who have been placed outside of civil society by prevailing economic arrangements. This accidental but recurring form of intergenerational conflict is the ‘fallout’ from the concentration of wealth and therefore power within national economies in a global market economy where capital is mobile, skilled labor less so, and badly schooled labor is treated as social trash.
Marcellus Andrews (Bucknell University)
Marcellus Andrews earned a PhD in economics from Yale University. He currently teaches economics at Bucknell University and has taught at the University of Denver, City University of New York (CUNY), Barnard College and Columbia University. Andrews’ primary research and teaching interests include macroeconomics and economic inequality, as well as analytical and philosophical approaches to economic justice.
Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs
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