Vol. 28, No. 4: Moral/Economies

Vol. 28, No. 4: Moral/Economies

Guest edited by Bethany Moreton & Pamela Voekel

The Moral/Economies issue asks what is ownable, who owns, who owes, who makes, who takes, what is work, what is worth? What is a fair price, and who pays it? Is a given transaction a theft, a trade, a gift? If the arid abstraction of “economics” relentlessly flattens this complexity into two dimensions, the notion of “moral economy” demands, in the words of historian Nell Irvin Painter, “a fully loaded cost accounting” that considers the true price of any exchange—free, coerced, or somewhere in between.

And the Devil Take the Hindmost

by Bethany Moreton, Pamela Voekel

“Questions of distribution, extraction, care, labor, production, reciprocity, and subsistence rest upon moral assumptions: what is fair, who owns, who owes, who makes, who takes, what is work, and what—who—is property.”

Lights Out

by Alex Beasley

“At every turn, those of us withstanding the storm were expected to act as though what we were up against was scarcity while the evidence of our abundance was plain to see.”

Why Is Wealth White?

by Julia Ott

“White families always have been far more likely to hold the type of assets—homes, stocks and bonds, retirement accounts—that tax expenditures reward.”

“Heavy with Plenty”

by Donald Mayfield Brown, Brian Williams

“Black southern literature is one of the few places where one can find resistance and survival articulated on Black southerners’ own terms.”

Catchin’ Strays

by Jordan Taliha McDonald

“Hurston theorizes southern interracial relations by giving it the language and structure of the ‘Pet Negro system’—a network of allegiances, allowances, and betrayals that shape the lives of Black and white southerners.”

Los Autobuses del Sur

by Iliana Yamileth Rodriguez

“The migration practices of my family (which mirrored that of other compatriots) between Mexico, Texas, and Georgia in the 1990s illustrate the entanglement of labor and familial migrations with a regional expansion of ethnic migrant economies.”

The Promotora System

by Espiva X., Manuela X., Lorena Quiroz, The Mississippi Freedom Writers

“When the Immigrant Alliance for Justice and Equity came along, we got the chance to work together and ensure our voices were heard, just like our precedents who fought for our freedom and our rights.”

New Denim City

by Michelle Crouch

“Who would open a new textile mill in the United States in this day and age, when most production had long since left the country and the remaining mills were hanging on by a proverbial thread?”

Filmmaking as a Classroom

by Kira Akerman

“Learning through the documentary was very different because we were engaged. It wasn’t just ‘climate change is happening.’ It’s happening in our backyards.”

Back Porch: Moral/Economies

by Tom Rankin

“The top of it is all we can see most of the time, but any true understanding of what we’re viewing tells us there is much, much more beneath the known surface, the still waters.”

War Supply

by Ina Cariño

“flurry of flight, sister untamed. I still remember the day I walked warm . . .”