Raul Carrillo, Reconstructing the Algebra of Race and Rights, L. & Pol. Econ. (Feb. 18, 2021). Introduction below:
In The Alchemy of Race and Rights, Patricia Williams critiques capitalism for narrowing our demands on the state to monetizable claims, arguing the “purchasing of our liberties; the peonage of our citizenship” situates us in eternal stasis. If “…a change on one side of the equation is always balanced by the algebraically obligatory change on the other” then “[m]oney reflects law and law reflects money, unattached to notions of shared humanity.” For advocates demanding direct deployment of public money, (via a right to guaranteed income, for example), a rigid conception of public finance is a trap.
Critical legal scholars persuasively argue rights are abstract, unstable, and indeterminate. But these qualities are not generated merely by courts: indeed, issues of justiciability are downstream from the broader public law of collective governance and monetary design, which shapes our understanding of each other as economic agents and units, and the form and function of rights demands in the first place.