Saturday, May 3, 2014

Maggie Anderson is not an economist

I was curious to whatever happened to the Buy Black scheme from a few years ago, officially called the "Ebony Experiment" and later changed to the "Empowerment Experiment. The idea was for black people to only buy from black-owned businesses. Most people got so upset about the upfront racial discrimination that they forgot to ask if it actually helps enrich the black community.

A Google search revealed that Maggie Anderson, the wife in the couple behind the campaign, wrote a book and has a website that introduces her as "Author, activist, speaker, economist..."

While Maggie Anderson may make claims about economic ideas, she is no more an economist than creationist Ken Ham is a biologist. Anderson's classic mistake was to only look at what black merchants stood to make in profits and ignore about the higher costs and other difficulties experienced by black customers. She doesn't understand mainstream economic thinking, in fact, she is oblivious to it and relies on novelty and gimmicks.

She received the highest honor bestowed on a pseudo intellectual-earlier this year - she was invited to present a TEDx talk.

She made one compelling point - that white people can also choose to shop from black merchants (most likely out of guilt). While this fails to help the economy as a whole and will create a net economic loss, the section of the economy she cares about will benefit.

The last time I saw her, Maggie Anderson's group was operating an ignored Facebook fan page. The page was filled with spam posts for get-rich-quick swindles peppered with assigned updates asking followers "Did you EE today?"

Now she has become an evangelist on the stage, making the same tired old promises that if we only agree to buy a few products here and there at an inflated price we would save the community by creating jobs. It's an old claim polished up with an ebony coating, and the core is as hollow as ever.

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