Kendall Qualls, a new member of our board, recently published a commentary on how to promote the best interests of African American families after some 200 years of chattel slavery, 100 years of legal and social segregations and 6 decades of trials and tribulations.
I find his recommendations vitally important because they flip Karl Marx’s theory of what causes injustice on its head. Marx believed that values and the derivative behaviors which they install in our psyches are superficial and that materialism structures social outcomes as the “base” of human fortunes and misfortunes.
Marx’s theory has been put in this graphic:
Kendall’s theory of achievement puts the superstructure of intangibles as the base of human civilizations, creating the realities of economy, society and politics, war and peace. To a great extent, individually and collectively, we really are what we want to be. This puts activating the best of ourselves – the quality and quantity of our personal capital – front and center in our “business plan” for living as well as circumstances will permit, at any given time.
To reconstruct Marx, we can say that the base of human capital shapes the superstructure of production – for richer or for poorer – while the superstructure then perpetuates value-oriented and cultural structures of the base.
Thus, while Kendall focuses on a particular challenge for the U.S., his recommendations have relevance for every human society.
You can read his commentary here.