Here is the opening of a Jacob M. Schlesinger Wall Street Journal piece:
For decades, William Darity Jr. and Darrick Hamilton toiled in obscurity. They criticized mainstream economists and politicians for failing to address racial inequality, and touted more radical remedies of their own.
Now, with the 2020 presidential campaign under way and liberal Democrats ascendant, the two economists are in the spotlight, thrust into the middle of an intraparty debate over how much to embrace big government and a race-oriented message.
Their signature ideas—guaranteed jobs for all adult Americans seeking them, government-backed trust funds for American babies and reparations for slave descendants—are being talked about on the campaign trail and, in the case of reparations, during a raucous congressional hearing in June.
The two African-American economists’ theories on “stratification economics,” which focuses on economic gaps between whites and blacks, have helped shape the rhetoric and platforms of several candidates.
At a conference earlier this year for liberal activists, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker told Mr. Hamilton he had “laid the foundation for a lot of things that we’re doing,” including “baby bonds.” Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke name-checks Mr. Hamilton in television interviews, calling him an “extraordinary economist” who “talks about a more conscious capitalism.”
Mr. Hamilton, an Ohio State University professor, has advised the campaigns of California Sen. Kamala Harris on middle-class tax cuts, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on job guarantees and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren on student-debt relief.
And this section:
They have teamed up to write more than 50 articles for academic and popular journals and books, and pioneered what they consider a new field of scholarship they branded stratification economics. They contend that mainstream economists tend to regard racial discrimination as a short-term market glitch that market forces will correct eventually. That logic, they say, leads to the conclusion that persistent African-American woes result mainly from their own failings, such as inadequate education or poor financial choices.
Policy makers, they contend, focus too much on employment, income and education and not enough on family wealth across generations. They say wealth is a better measure of household economic security—the ability to weather emergencies, pay for education, afford homes in good neighborhoods and take risks.
I hope you subscribe or can get through the gate, as there are many meaty sections. One interesting angle, of course, is whether their claims and theories are true. But most of all this piece, and their role as advisers, marks the end of an era, namely that of mainstream consensus technocracy. The range of ideas being considered in politics today is remarkably wider than just a few years ago, for better or worse. And, whether we like to admit it or not, the academic world also will follow rather than just lead this process. If a plausible candidate pops up and starts making claims, especially on the Democratic side, the academic research supporting those claims will rise in status.
Fasten your seatbelts.