[W]e must understand that outside the sphere of parliamentarism, as sterile as it is absorbing, there is another field incomparably vaster, in which our destiny is worked out; that beyond these political phantoms, whose forms capture our imagination, there are the phenomena of social economy, which, by their harmony or discord, produce all the good and ill of society. . . .
Know well that there is nothing more counter-revolutionary than the Government. Whatever liberalism it pretends, whatever name it assumes, the Revolution repudiates it: its fate is to be absorbed in the industrial organization. — Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution in the 19th Century.
“In other states, the black industrial insurance societies usually developed out of the black non-secret fraternal benefit societies. In Alabama, however, the insurance societies tended to develop out of the black benevolent societies” (259). Spencer argues that the evolution of black benevolent societies into professionalized insurance companies employing “actuarial principles and businesslike methods” was an organic development near the turn of the century, due to the financial instability of the benevolent societues (252). They specifically suggest that low educational levels in the newly-emancipated black population and the religious, non-commercial roots of the societies as a barrier to sustainability. But on the other hand Spencer notes how from the 1880s until the near complete success of the Alabama Insurance Commission by the 1950s, Alabama state laws attempted to prohibit Rising Star Societies’ insurance functions and increasingly subjected mutuals to close regulation and limitations on the schemes they could adopt for paying out benefits and financing operations (257-258).
It’s time for some winter weather here in East Alabama; time also for winter holidays. Since I’ve been off-duty from classes, I’ve taken some time to get away for a little while from the reading I have to do, and on to some of the reading that I’ve wanted to do; also some preparatory writing for the comments that I’m slated to deliver at next month’s Molinari Society session at APA Eastern Division in Baltimore. (We’ll be talking about the rights of refugees; and of immigration more broadly.) I have a novel to read that I’ve just started in on and some long-simmering tech projects I’ve been getting caught back up with. And as always I am trying to keep in practice with my Portuguese, Spanish and German.
If this is a time for catching up, it is a time also for Shamelessness. Happy Sunday to all, and I hope you know what to do: What have you been up to lately? Got anything big coming up? Anything you’ve been working on? Write anything? Leave a link and a short description for your post in the comments. Or fire away about anything else you might want to talk about.
What I’m Reading to-day:
- Ta-Nehisi Coates, My President Was Black (The Atlantic)
- Henry Petrosky, The Evolution of Useful Things: How Everyday Artifacts-From Forks and Pins to Paper Clips and Zippers-Came to Be as They Are (1994)
- Nell Irvin Painter, The History of White People (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2010)