The Nobel Committee Recognizes Groundbreaking Economist

In a surprising move, the Nobel committee in Sweden has deviated from its tradition and awarded the prestigious economics prize to an individual who has managed to captivate the attention of many with her fascinating and thought-provoking research.

A Career of Important Contributions

Throughout her long and illustrious career, this remarkable economist has made significant contributions to various fields of study. Notably, she has shed light on the crucial role of American education, including secondary schools, land-grant universities, and even the GI Bill, in driving the country’s economic success.

A Reflection on Today’s Challenges

It is particularly crucial to consider her groundbreaking research in today’s context, as an increasing number of students find themselves priced out of the college education market. Paradoxically, some educational institutions have compromised their own academic standards and values along the way.

Unraveling a Forgotten Narrative

What initially captivated my interest about this economist’s work was a piece she wrote over four decades ago—a piece that remains largely overlooked today. Yet, its significance cannot be overstated as it delves into a critical issue in American history.

Shining Light on Hidden Costs

The findings revealed a staggering sum of $15 billion in 1861 prices—a figure almost five times greater than the estimated peak “market value” of U.S. slavery in 1860.

Challenging Conventional Narratives

By putting forth this groundbreaking research, the economist indirectly challenges the common narrative surrounding the Civil War within the establishment media. Regrettably, this exposes their tendency to overlook ideas that contradict their cherished beliefs.

Reevaluating Historical Significance

It is essential to highlight the weight of this revelation: the total number of enslaved individuals reported by the U.S. Census in 1860 amounted to four million. Simultaneously, the government’s Historical Statistics of the United States indicate that the average market price of a slave peaked at $800 during the same period. Consequently, the estimated peak market value of all slaves in the U.S. was $3.2 billion.

As we venture into a new era, we must empower ourselves with a comprehensive understanding of history, embracing lesser-known narratives that challenge our preconceived notions.

The Cost of War: Reevaluating the Economic Impact of Slavery Abolition


Challenging Assumptions: Economic Value vs. Cost of War

The widely accepted estimate that America spent five times the economic value of enslaved individuals on the war that led to their emancipation is open to debate. Goldin argues that this estimate is likely inflated due to the context of an impending war and the skewed perspective caused by the types of slaves most likely to be traded. Nevertheless, even if we accept this figure, it becomes apparent that the North alone spent three times as much on the war as the total perceived market value of enslaved Americans.

Reparations: Should Past Costs Be Factored In?

Goldin’s research prompts us to consider whether the tremendous cost already paid for the abolition of slavery should be taken into account in today’s calculations regarding reparations. This question challenges us to rethink our approach and consider the historical significance of these expenses.

Alternative Solutions: British Influence and Union Government’s Options

Goldin further invites us to explore potential alternatives. She raises the question of whether it was ever feasible for the Union government to follow in the footsteps of the British in the Caribbean by buying out slaveholders. This alternative approach may have led to a less costly resolution.

Furthermore, Goldin ponders whether President Lincoln and his administration could have employed a simple yet effective alternative strategy. She suggests offering a substantial bounty, possibly up to $800, for each slave who either made it to Union lines or was brought there for emancipation. This ingenious plan would have swiftly collapsed the entire Southern economy. With numerous poor white Southerners who had little to no slaves, the incentive to raid plantations, seize slaves, and head for Union lines would have been overwhelming. This approach would have potentially saved more than half a million lives and proven far more cost-effective than engaging in full-blown warfare.

The Power of Thought-Provoking Academics

In an era where academics often discourage critical thinking, Goldin stands out as an old-school provocateur who challenges us to question widely accepted narratives. Her richly deserved Nobel laureate status solidifies her reputation as an influencer in her field.

In conclusion, by reevaluating the economic impact of slavery abolition, Goldin’s research compels us to think beyond conventional wisdom. It forces us to reexamine the fundamental aspects of this historical period and consider alternative solutions that could have altered the course of history.

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