Sep 12, 2022 • 1HR 13M

Larry Kotlikoff – What Explains Persistent Racial Inequality?

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Appears in this episode

Glenn Loury
Weekly conversations on race, inequality, and more, with Glenn Loury. Bi-weekly appearances by John McWhorter.
Episode details

This week on TGS I’m cross-posting my recent appearance on my good friend Larry Kotlikoff’s show, Economics Matters. Larry is a professor of economics and the author of many, many books, including last year’s Money Magic: An Economist’s Secrets to More Money, Less Risk, and a Better Life. He’s also got a new Substack newsletter, where you can find episodes of his podcast and his writing about economics and politics.

Larry begins by introducing me, my work, and my career to his viewers—if you’re looking for a quick primer on Glenn Loury, this is it. We then go on to discuss my ideas about “social capital,” which I first introduced in my MIT doctoral dissertation in 1976. This leads us to the sticky problem of self-segregation, which can impede the mobility of social capital and restrict the flow of social capital between groups. You can think about affirmative action as a mechanism that injected social capital into groups that had been historically deprived of it in unjust ways, but, as many of you know, I believe the time for that has passed. We can’t allow racial preferences in the name of “equity” to become permanent. We then move into Larry’s domain and discuss how reconfiguring certain aspects of the welfare state could encourage positive social developments that are, in many cases, desperately needed. And finally, we talk about my forthcoming memoir, The Enemy Within.

It’s always good to sit down with Larry. And once again, I highly recommend that you subscribe to his newsletter both for his insight into large-scale issues in politics and economics and his tips on personal finance.

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0:00 Introducing Glenn Loury

8:50 What is “social capital”?

19:24 Racial inequality and self-segregation 

30:01 Glenn: “The jig is up” on affirmative action

39:45 Balancing preferences and colorblindness 

45:35 Rethinking the welfare state

55:41 Why Glenn’s forthcoming memoir is titled The Enemy Within 

Links and Readings

Larry’s Substack, Economics Matters

Larry’s personal website

Download Larry’s book, You’re Hired: A Trump Playbook for Fixing America’s Economy