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The Political Economy of Hatred

March 28th, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments

Interesting article considering the economic┬átrade-offs involved in the politics of hate. It’s long and dense but you can get the gist of it from the introductions.

[H]atred is the outcome of a political market in which self-interested political entrepreneurs interact with everyday citizens. Both the purveyors and consumers of hatred behave strategically. Politicians supply hatred if it complements their policies. If the poor are disproportionately black, then politicians who oppose welfare may find it useful to preach race hatred. Consumers demand hatred if it fills some psychological need (such as explaining their own past failures) or if hate-creating messages appear to convey useful information. The demand for hatred will fall if consumers interact with the targeted group, as hatred reduces the returns to interactions (as in Becker, 1957)….

Many modern constitutions require equality before the law and forbid policies that specifically target particular minorities.4 However, in other times, politicians have been free to propose policies that expropriate minorities. These politicians naturally use hatred as a complement to their policies. As such, constitutionally enforced rules that limit the ways in which the government can target taxes or spending will also limit the supply of hatred. However, advocates of violent revolution, whose proposed policies are not bound by any rules, may advocate expropriating minorities and use hatred to build support for their views.

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