Scholarly Comments on Academic Economics

Richard T. Ely: The Confederate Flag of the AEA?

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During the Progressive Era, a new breed of social reformers advocated policies such as the segregation of lesser people, including entire races of people, to labor colonies in order to advance social evolution. Prominent among these Progressives was Richard T. Ely, a founder of the American Economic Association, recently honored by that organization in its Economists’ Calendar. To put this honor into proper perspective, this article compiles 55 quotations of Richard T. Ely, spanning his entire professional career, on issues such as eugenics, race, and individual rights versus the rights of the state.

Corrections were made to this article in February 2018. The original version, marked up with the February 2018 corrections, is available here.

Podcast related to this article: Clifford Thies on the AEA and Richard T. Ely (EJW Audio, November 2011).