umbrella rain downtown, the nashville capitol slaves, the trouble with neoclassical economics

umbrella rain downtown

They Moved the Earth: The Slaves Who Built the Tennessee State Capitol

The goal of this essay is to bring to light the full story of the group of slaves that were involved in the construction. In the spring of 1846, fifteen slaves, all men, were loaned to the state government by A.G. Payne, a Nashville stone mason. For nearly a year they carved out the Capitol’s cellar, their skilled labor worth nearly twice as much as the unskilled labor of free men. These slaves broke through tons of limestone rock, carting it away after digging. When construction required skilled stonemasons, the slaves returned to their master’s properties. For fourteen years up until Payne’s death, they worked at both a farm and brick factory, the monotony briefly punctuated by being hired out.

The slaves that built Tennessee’s capitol building were emancipated, but once they left the Payne property Broderick was able to only track three of them ( this excerpt is from the abstract at the link – the full essay is available there as a pdf). The U.S. Capitol was also built by slaves. Its beyond irony that the statue of “Freedom” at the top was placed there by slaves.

A review of The Other Side of the Coin by David Orrell

Even as it was gaining adherents in nineteenth-century England, neoclassical economics was dubbed a “dismal science” by historian Thomas Carlyle. In The Other Side of the Coin, David Orrell goes one step further and accuses the dominant ideology of the twentieth century of being “counterfeit.” By tracing the history of our free-market traditions, from Pythagoras through Adam Smith to Milton Friedman, Orrell exposes an anachronistic theory, based more on mathematical models than the real world it claims to represent. But with its proponents wielding influence in industry, politics, and academia, he sees neoclassical economics as not just out of touch, but hazardous to our society, the environment, and, paradoxically, the economy

I don’t have a handy poll to point to unless we count the regular consumer confidence index, which is down of course, but most of us in casual conversation think that something is wrong. Maybe we look up a few articles on the web. Then soon throw up our hands. The math in biology and chemistry is easier to follow. The technical opinions, even the ones that sound like they’re on the same page as the average worker don’t exactly translate well over pizza and beer. Maybe the Orrells of economics can save us or at least give the average person the language to fight back. On the other hand the global struggle for cheap fuel to power Asia’s industrial boom combined with the rising costs of fueling “globalization” might make the point moot. Corporations that made cheap labor their goal rather then making actual products may have to rethink their business model. Considering the cost of fuel would it be better to have that car made and shipped from China or cheaper to reopen an old Detroit factory.

component axioms

Would someone take pity on Jerome Corsi and buy him a drool cup,

When MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer pointed out that Jerome Corsi falsely claimed in his new book, The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality (Threshold Editions, August 2008), that Sen. Barack Obama did not dedicate his memoir, Dreams From My Father, to his mother and grandparents, Corsi responded with two more falsehoods.