Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Todd Henderson warns against government regulation of Google ads. (DBx: Although I agree with Todd’s opposition to attempts to regulate advertising on Google – and I agree with him also that the market for on-line advertising differs in important ways from markets for financial securities – I am much more opposed to financial-market regulation than Todd seems to be.)
Desmond’s melodramatic narrative, like that of the 1619 Project generally, is as tendentious as it is thinly sourced. Except for a one-off nod in the direction of the distinguished economic historian of slavery Stanley Engerman (2000, 480), virtually every authority invoked and assertion made in Desmond’s piece are associated with the New History of American Capitalism movement and its take on slavery and capitalism. Indeed, although the piece is not footnoted, most of it seems to have been drawn from a single text—Slavery’s Capitalism, edited by Beckert and Rockman (2016b)—supplemented by a sidewise glance at Walter Johnson’s River of Dark Dreams (2013). To be sure, an author has the right to his or her own path, but in a publication intended for a broad, nonspecialist audience, doesn’t every author also have an obligation to point out that there are other paths and that the path depicted has its critics and detractors? If Desmond opted for complete transparency, he might even have pointed out that almost every serious economic historian of slavery has rejected the basic NHAC positions he lays out in his essay, in most instances to devastating effect.