At the Corner of Race and Class

Every once in a while, a number of discussions in my personal blogosphere converge. In this case, it’s the discussion of race and IQ that I restarted and continued, and which has attempted to take over Greg Laden’s Blog for the last couple of weeks, the discussion of the racist connotations of “redneck” by bikemonkey being overwhelmed by the discussion of “redneck” as a classist term, Will Shetterly’s ongoing critique of the antiracist community’s failure to deal with classism as an underpinning of racism, and Eric Michael Johnson’s deconstruction of social Darwinism. It’s time to say a few words about the intersection of race and class.

There’s a long history, in “the West,” of race being defined as much by division of labor and property as anything else. Jews weren’t just separate from the majority population because of their religion, but also because they held money outside the church or the crown and because they didn’t hold property that could be easily confiscated. Hired labor on farms in the New World, whether they were French or Irish, became distinct races from those who owned the land. Native Americans didn’t share the manifest destiny of the race that wanted to own all that land. Being factory labor made Poles a different race than the owners. Migrant farmwork made Mexicans distinct. And, of course, there was slavery.

Slavery required more work to explain, because the difference was bigger than between haves and have-nots, but explained it was. Lectures, articles and the occasional book pounded away about all those stunning–fundamental–differences between “us” and “them.” Contrasting the recent and not remotely universal literacy of parts of Europe with its lack in Africa, ignoring the memory and linguistic requirements of oral histories. Focusing on clothing as a moral rather than climatic issue. Comparing polygamy unfavorably with monogamy, which never spoke of infidelity. Over all, talking about all the things those dark people didn’t, wouldn’t, couldn’t understand and accept as superior about an industrialized society they’d never seen.

Slavery went away, eventually, taking longer than it should have because so many people believed, as people do, the relentless drum pounding. But the economic situation changed very little, so the drums pounded on.

It’s useful to look at those who heard those drums before making an argument, parallel to the racist one, that the worth of these people is determined by what they believe. There is always the existence of the drums to be considered. They were created to make an unconscionably exploitative economic tactic palatable to people of basic decency. They beat to keep people from realizing that what was happening could happen to them, to stop the exercise of empathy that’s a requirement of human morality.

And the people who hear the drums are much closer to the exploitation than they realize, because the other purpose of the drums is to tell those who have nothing, “Well, at least you’re not them.” It isn’t stupidity that makes people in the lower classes believe racist propaganda, although they are often deprived of the education that would make the illusion harder to maintain. It’s that untenable proposition of losing the one thing they’ve been given. “At least….”

Nor are they wrong. Fixing class inequalities would go a very long way toward mitigating the effects of racism. It is probably the single most effective action that could be taken. In socialist states, it does go a long way. But it doesn’t go all the way, because the drumbeat isn’t all about class.

We don’t have slavery any longer, but collectively we do have these ingrained messages about the abilities of blacks. How could we not? The drums have never stopped, despite what those who are currently beating them would like us to believe. There was never a time when the only messages out there were those of equality. There was never a time when those who beat the drum were all out of power. Never.

As a consequence, those who set expectations for children being socialized, students being educated, workers being hired and trained and managed, still contain many people hearing those messages, whether they want to or not. So do police deciding what is criminal, lenders and landlords and insurance agents deciding what is risky, publishers and critics and audiences and neighbors deciding what is art and what is noise. So do the general press of people deciding what is “normal” and what is “odd” or just “different.”

Not all of them, no, but we come across enough people in a position to make a difference to our lives that it doesn’t have to be anywhere near all of them to have a large collective impact on people’s lives. Even if we greatly mitigate or disable the class system, there is real, worthwhile work to be done in fighting racism. We can look to our socialist neighbors and see the drum still being beaten, if perhaps a little more weakly. We have to take it apart.

But we may not be able to take the drum apart without addressing class. As I noted at the start, it was economic interests that built the drum. If you follow the race-IQ discussion, you’ll note that the entire edifice is calibrated to questions of work and class. As long as classism stands, the arguments of inherent ability will be plausible to far too many people, and the problem of blacks in poverty will be used to justify itself. Just as racism has always been used to justify poverty.

Racism and classism are not competing issues, except in the minds of those who demand we focus on only one. Historically and in the modern world, they are tied tightly together, and in order to fix one, we will likely have to fix both.

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38 Responses to “At the Corner of Race and Class”

  1. January 11th, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Observer says:

    *** We can look to our socialist neighbors and see the drum still being beaten, if perhaps a little more weakly.***

    Who are these socialist neighbors you refer to? Aren’t humans like other pack animals that form hierarchies in some form or another?

  2. January 11th, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    Greg Laden says:

    What is a pack animal? Like a donkey or an ass?

  3. January 11th, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    Observer says:

    Heh, I mean social animal.

  4. January 11th, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    Greg Laden says:

    There are a lot of different kinds of social animals. They differ greatly.

  5. January 11th, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    Stephanie Zvan says:

    Observer, it’s a might small planet, and even if you can find an animal you think humans should be most like in social structure, you’re leaning on the naturalistic fallacy.

  6. January 11th, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Observer says:

    So where’s the evidence that socialism reduces these problems? That’s why I was wondering about the neigbors you referred to. I recently read that Cuba had significant issues with racism.

  7. January 11th, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Stephanie Zvan says:

    I didn’t say that socialism reduces racism. I said it reduces the impact of racism. When there isn’t an underclass, when there is less crime to concentrate and opportunity is more even, marginalization has less of a direct effect on well-being.

  8. January 11th, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    Observer says:

    That maybe true, but you can also say that capitalism reduces racism as it pays to hire the best in whatever field. What % of the NBA is African American? If an Indian or Chinese guy is the best for a job there is a profit motive to take them on.

  9. January 11th, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    Stephanie Zvan says:

    You could say that. You’d be widely and roundly laughed at, with good reason. Your assumptions about capitalism are prima facie absurd.

  10. January 11th, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    will shetterly says:

    Observer doesn’t seem to grasp that capitalism only “hires the best” when that’s the most profitable thing to do. If it’s more profitable to pander to the prejudices of the customers, capitalism panders.

    I think Observer is right in theory that capitalism doesn’t have to be racist. But in practice, there’s no way to make a class-based society racially proportionate. (Well, you could arrange a wealth swap, impoverishing some whites and enriching some blacks and Hispanics until the mix was equal at every level, and I’m sure that someone on the internet supports that, but, uh, no.)

  11. January 11th, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    Sailor says:

    Good post. I have noticed overt racism is quite often
    about class not color. The correlation makes this possible.

  12. January 11th, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    Mike Haubrich says:

    Observer, if capitalism was so magically good at erasing the effects of racism, I would love to examine how it improved the quality of life for “coloreds” excluded from lunch counters. Wasn’t their money as good as the whites’ money? How about all of the baseball players who played in the Negro Leagues even after Branch Rickey put Jackie Robinson in a Dodgers’ uniform? It took the courage of a great many individuals to undo what capitalism was ineffective to do. It took LBJ agreeing to sign the Civil Rights Acts, risking losing the freedom-loving capitalist South for the Democrats for generations.

    Will, I think in your second paragraph you miss the Stephanie’s point about bringing some people down in order to lift other people up. The lower classes of the racial majority are not wealthy and are enablers of racist attitudes because they, in their trailers in the woods eating squirrels are happy that at “least they ain’t black.”

  13. January 11th, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    Paul S. says:

    In theory, neither capitalism nor socialism has anything specifically to do with race – they are economic rather than social or cultural systems. In practice, though, either system is made up of people who carry their own prejudices and other cultural baggage with them – and those prejudices will often outweigh rational economic considerations.

    The problem with classism is that I think it, along with social classes in general, is almost inevitable in any human society that is organised on a larger scale than hunter-gatherer bands. Certainly, modern attempts to create “classless societies” have tended to produce a lot of death and very little equality.

  14. January 11th, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    Stephanie Zvan says:

    On the other hand, Paul, the societies that have taken measures to reduce class inequality to a very large extent have done quite well. I don’t think we’re in a position to say it can’t work just yet.

  15. January 11th, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    Paul S. says:

    Some countries have been moderately successful at reducing inequality, but everything comes with a price – some countries sacrifice overall economic growth and wealth so that they can get greater equality. The biggest cost of socialism is that it involves penalizing the most successful as well as helping the least successful. Depending on one’s view, this is not necessarily a bad thing, but I’m pretty sure it is a serious economic cost.

    On the original point, I think that class inequality and racism don’t need to be connected, but once they become connected in a specific society, they tend to reinforce each other.

  16. January 11th, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    Stephanie Zvan says:

    Sweden and Norway don’t seem to be sacrificing much to offer the economic equality they do. They both outrank the U.S. in per capita GDP.

  17. January 11th, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    will shetterly says:

    Mike, the problem is with the folks in the mansions, not the ones in the trailers. I highly recommend Thandeka’s The Whiting of Euro-Americans: A Divide and Conquer Strategy. The racial problem in the US was created by and has always been driven by rich whites, not poor ones.

  18. January 11th, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    Mike Haubrich says:

    That’s pretty much why I used the term “enablers,” Will.

  19. January 11th, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    daedalus2u says:

    This comment started out as a response to a comment about “cure” and autism, and what “cure” in the context of autism means to different people. My understanding of the effect of ASDs on interpersonal relationships with neurologically typical developing individuals relates to a lack of consilience of the “theory of mind” that the two individuals are using to try and communicate. They use their “theory of mind” to do the equivalent of a “Turing Test” to determine if the individual is “human enough” to communicate with (the communication error rate determines this). If someone is not “human enough”, then the uncanny valley triggers xenophobia. A lack of consilience in cultural communication styles, different language, different customs, or in the case of autism, different neuroanatomy that doesn’t support neurologically typical communication modalities (my hypothesis). (if anyone need/want background on this it is at my blog).

    Many people with autism do not want the kind of “cures” that some people want for their children. My perception is that many parents of children with autism want a “cure” such that their child will change such that the parent will feel the child is “normal”. Such people are termed “curebies”.

    There is a similar effect in Deaf Culture. People who are deaf and learn ASL as a first language are most at ease with other people who learn ASL as their first language. Learning to speak while deaf is difficult and often does not allow a deaf person to “pass” as a hearing person who learns a spoken language as a first language. When deaf parents have a hearing child, the child can learn ASL as a first language, or can learn spoken language as a first language. Which ever one the child learns, the child will then (likely, my hypothesis) trigger the uncanny valley in members of the other language. For deaf parents to allow their child to learn to speak as his/her first language, the child will then not be a native signer and will be always be an outsider in the parents community.

    This relates to the idea of class that Stephanie is discussing, in the context that the normal NT society always has a pecking order. The pecking order isn’t determined by ability, it is determined by who can bully. The inability to communicate with the majority community on the terms of the majority community results in second class or worse status. For example, deaf people can lead rich and fulfilling lives without being able to hear. They can’t lead rich and fulfilling lives if they are marginalized and treated like shit. The same is true of any group. Being marginalized and treated like shit by the majority is a disability that no minority can overcome. It can only be overcome when the majority stops marginalizing and treating them like shit. In the case of the child of deaf parents, the child can learn to sign and be marginalized and treated like shit in the speaking community, or the child can learn to speak and be marginalized and treated like shit in the signing community.

    Having more ability is no justification or license to marginalize someone with less ability and treat them like shit. Doesn’t matter what that ability or disability is. Usually the top bullies bully and marginalize one group and by doing so enlist their aid in a worse marginalization of another group by both of them. This is how racial politics works in the US. Rich conservatives enlist the aid of poor white conservatives to marginalize poor blacks. The poor white conservatives go along with being exploited by saying “at least I am not black”.

    The elite bullies use their skill at bullying to enlist the non-bullying skills of the other groups. This is exactly and precisely what the rich conservatives are doing. Stephanie is correct, the bullying done by the rich in the US is decreasing per capita GDP because it is depriving poor people with skills the opportunity to use those skills productively.

  20. January 11th, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    will shetterly says:

    Mike, my bad. I had just been reading comments dissing working class whites at one of the redneck discussions, so when you only mentioned poor racists, I thought you were putting most of the blame there.

  21. January 11th, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    Paul S. says:

    Sweden and Norway are also countries with small populations and large amounts of natural resources and high development, which is the perfect combination for high wealth per capita. The USA simply has too many people to match that – I suspect that if our population was 100 million instead of roughly 320 million, we would probably look more like Sweden or Norway socially. On the other hand, we would have a much smaller economy overall, which would also reduce the economies of many other countries.

    I also don’t know if wealthy people are any more likely to be bullies than anyone else. The big difference is that those who are bullies have the power to hurt many more people because of their wealth.

  22. January 11th, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    Mike Haubrich says:

    It’s okay – at least I got the chance to read your blog, Will. I am a working class white so I won’t accept any of the blame.

  23. January 11th, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    skeptifem says:

    Well paul s, the richest portion of the population gets pay outs from the government all the time to keep their businesses going, but people still starve in this country. A lot of their success is funded by tax payers, and we get no return. In fact, we get to PAY for technology when/if it becomes profitable enough to sell to consumers, despite the r&d money coming from places like the department of defense. Most of our major industries and technologies arose from such an arrangement; For example there were many generations of computers that were engineered before any profitable use for them was developed. Other industries like telecommunications & air travel were heavily subsidized. Industries like the meat industry are heavily subsidized despite their clear ineffeciency and cost to the environment. The list goes on and on. The wealth that those people have give them enough power to make campaign contributions more of an investment than anything else (and they can invest more than the rest of us), so that the main political parties ultimately represent the business class rather than the concerns of regular citizens. A small percentage of wealthy people own most of the money and also most of the media in our country, making anti capitalist thought taboo in the mainstream media, this is probably part of why people assume that these major corporations got where they are by being ‘the best’, rather than getting their butts saved/their r&d paid for by the government or by having strategic alliances with other major corporations.

    As far as rich people being ‘worse’ than the rest- corporations are set up in such a way that the company is a legal person who is only responsible to shareholders. Failing to meet the obligation of creating more profit puts the people in charge of the corporation into hot water. It doesn’t really need to be explained that making as much profit as possible leads to some really evil stuff sometimes, if someone isn’t willing to do it then it is unlikely that they will remain in charge for too long. It is like a monster, really. The current system selects for people who are willing to do these things. I am not just talking ‘the rich’ as in richer than most americans, more like the ultra rich, but the point still stands about the inherent problems with the current system. Not to mention this whole system relies on waste and overconsumption, and the assumption that there are infinite resources available to make capitalism go forever. This simply can’t last, something else has to be done. Socialism seems to be a good goal for the short term in helping out a lot of people who do not have to starve or be homeless or otherwise suffer.

  24. January 12th, 2010 at 7:01 am

    Anon1 says:

    Mike, you can see how “in their trailers in the woods eating squirrels… happy that at ‘least they ain’t black'” is kind of an off-putting description of lower-class whites, though, right? I mean, if the racism is what’s upsetting you, why confuse the issue by implying an almost equal distate for the fact that your strawmen have chosen to live in affordable housing in a natural setting, eat locally produced food, and enhance the vibrancy of the English language by keeping alive vernacular like “ain’t”?

  25. January 12th, 2010 at 11:29 am

    Jason Thibeault says:

    As a representative from one of your more-socialist neighbors, I hate to inform you that your CEOs are a bad influence on us. Our CEOs are giving themselves about 20% pay raises per annum, and the lower ends of the income spectrum are stagnating. Sound familiar? We’re not quite at the income disparity of the States, but we’re sprinting to catch up.

    Can’t wait to see what happens to the lower levels of blatant racism once we’ve built ourselves a proper underclass!

  26. January 12th, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Scotlyn says:

    Stephanie, I think this post is almost perfectly conceived and written.

  27. January 12th, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Greg Laden says:

    Paul: Regarding the Sweden and Norway thing (and we must include Denmark because I think Denmark has pulled ahead of Sweden and Norway in important measures realted to tax base, wealth disparity, and quality of life) … you say that these are countries wiht lots of resources and a certain amount of developmenet, etc and that this explains what we see there, not the wealth redistribution system

    Well, the US has far more resources than any of those countries in per capita or absolute measure. Also, these western/norther European countries (and western european countries generally) have passed through various phases of policy sufficiently that, once resource base and population size is controlled for, allow us to see the effects of wealth redistribution.

    And from this we now know that wealth redistribution from taxing the rich works. It works very very well.

    The reason we don’t do this in the US is a combination of a very powerful overclass and a very poorly educated and politically manipulated underclass.

  28. January 12th, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    Mike Haubrich says:

    I guess I can see your point, Anon1, and I understand that I should learn not to be so judgmental. Thank you for giving me a new perspective!

  29. January 12th, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    khan says:

    I find it fascinating that the ubermensch have convinced many of the unterklasse to vote against their own interests.

  30. January 13th, 2010 at 1:46 am

    Stephanie Zvan says:

    Aw, thanks, Scotlyn.

  31. January 13th, 2010 at 6:36 am

    Mike Haubrich says:

    Khan – I would like to read the book “What’s the Matter with Kansas ?” which explains the process they have used, also anything by Greg Palast is fun to read, and “No Free Lunch” is also a good screed about the misuses of power and money in American politics.

    Also, remember that enfranchisement was limited to property owners in the early part of U.S. history and so they had quite the head start.

    Scotlyn, agreed! And I am not, in any manner, sucking up nor brown-nosing the editor here at Quiche Moraine.

  32. January 13th, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Paul S. says:

    Greg: The USA certainly has more total resources than any European country except Russia, but I’m not sure about per capita. The Scandinavian countries especially have quite small populations. The US is also often compared to Canada or Australia, which have vastly smaller populations in countries with land and natural resources comparable to the US.

    I’m not saying that wealth redistribution isn’t very good at doing some things – I’m just saying that it comes at a price and it’s bizarre that the advocates of this policy never acknowledge or discuss the price.

  33. January 13th, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Greg Laden says:

    Paul: Per capata we totally kick ass for many resources. If you included Canada (which is a separate country but we are totally in on this together) North America even has more fossil fuel than any country possibly excepting Russia.

    Yes ,there is a price, and it is paid by …. THE RICH!!!! Long live the rich!

  34. January 14th, 2010 at 12:02 am

    MPL says:

    Sorry about the long post, I didn’t have time to make it shorter.

    I overheard some middle aged, upper class, white men on the train this weekend, who were responsible for some sort of hiring decisions at their firm, complaining about their issues with finding “diversity hires” [sic].

    While some of their complaints were possibly reasonable (e.g. otherwise qualified candidates who speak English as a second language could conceivably be the wrong choice to send as consultants to work with your clients), the amazing bit was that they seemingly managed to identify some of the sources of their problems, but never shook their feelings of absolute rightness. They reject candidates who don’t fit into their “corporate culture”, even though they don’t have any proof of the usefulness of their culture (other than, I suppose, ‘that’s how it’s always been done here’). They focus their recruitment on certain “priority schools”, which have few “diverse candidates” to start with, and of course, they face steep competition from every other big employer in the country.

    They are looking for people who fit without effort into their existing company. Of course, that means they want people with assertive (i.e. ‘masculine’, ‘individualistic’) personalities, with ‘accentless’ English (i.e. middle-class American White English voices), with “priority” school backgrounds (i.e. expensive, upper-middle-class biased elite schools). Some of the issues they can’t do anything about (e.g. if you really do need a specific university degree for your job, you will inherit any race/gender/class bias that comes with it), but others they could reconsider and change.

    But they won’t. They were awfully defensive about it for two friends talking to each other on the train.

  35. January 14th, 2010 at 6:39 am

    Mike Haubrich says:

    No worries about the length, MPL, we appreciate the comment.

    This is an aspect that has always troubled me about the corporate mindset, to pre-screen people who will “fit in” to an all ready existing culture. It worries me because it is very similar to inbreeding in genetic weaknesses. Without the infusion of diversity in background of people to contribute to the corporation, serious problems occur; leading to groupthink and other problems. The members of the organization tend to focus on pre-set goals without stopping to question whether the goals are actually beneficial. If the organization focuses intensely on making widget “A” and R & D is all focused on making widget “A” more better, and marketing focuses on making “A” more palatable, profitable and salable, and customer support is focused on making widget “A” more usable, when financial resources are sunk into all of “A” but no one bothers to check to see if widget “B” may be instead the better product, then the corporation will be sunk in the long run. Unless it gets a monopoly and the public decides that widget “B” is too geeky and unapproachable.

    Corporations need “shit disturbers” so that they question their goals as much as strive to achieve them. I wonder if General Motors and Chrysler would be in as much financial trouble as they are in now, if they had hired people who would have stopped them from putting all their energy and resources into designing “bigger, badder, stronger, meaner” cars and trucks while the long-term market trend should be towards more fuel-efficient vehicles; if one of their board members would have stood up and said “Hey, gasoline is not in infinite supply!”

    To find people who will broaden the reach and scope of the company, they really should focus on broadening the reach and source of the people they want to join them beyond “priority schools” and consider the implications of diversity in their hiring practice to include people who have variant cultural and educational backgrounds. Not knocking schools such as Harvard, Yale and Stanford, but good leadership and education can also be found at smaller and less prestigious schools; and if the intent is to squeeze the creativity out of people once they are hired then why worry about which school they went to in the first place?

    I do think that a better understanding of evolution illuminates the issue, MPL. A broadened gene pool benefits species and ensures a greater chance of survival should disaster strike, and the business world should look to the biological and anthropological sciences to guide them in adjusting their hiring practices.

    Segregating and separating race and class into discreet units may be useful to the power structure for their own selfish, capitalistic goals, but if their overall concern is towards the long-term health of the organization then breaking down the units is a counter-intuitive, yet important process.

  36. January 14th, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    daedalus2u says:

    Mike, the problem is that management is not hired to pursue the “long-term health of the organization”. They are hired by the stockholders to pursue short term profits. Usually that means liquidating long term assets that are not properly valued by the accounting practices in use. Things like “good will”.

    You can liquidate the good will of long term employees by paying crap wages, but after a while there is no more good will and no more good employees. You can liquidate the good will of your customers by selling crap products for high prices, but that only works for a while.

    The people who bought Simmons were not interested in whether it survived or not. If you can liquidate the good will faster than the market place realizes the good will is being liquidated, you can end up with more than the good will is worth. But once that good will is liquidated, it is gone.

  37. January 15th, 2010 at 7:03 am

    Mike Haubrich says:

    I’m in agreement, but not willing to paint with too broad of a brush. I do think that there are corporations whose boards are interested in the long term health of the organization. I just can’t think of any specific examples right now.

  38. January 16th, 2010 at 11:33 am

    daedalus2u says:

    Mike, the problem is that in such companies their profits are lower than the actual value of the company would demand, so their stock is undervalued (because it is usually based on profits not “value”). The first person to buy up the stock, change the board, dismantle the company and liquidate the assets can make a lot of money.

    If we consider that the value of a company is proportional to its profits, the company that gives half its profits to charity is only worth half as much as the company with the same profit that gives nothing to charity. If someone were to buy the first company, change management so no profits are given to charity, now the company is worth twice as much and the company can be sold with a 100% profit.

    That is what the people who took over Simmons did. They didn’t add any value to Simmons, they simply liquidated the value that was already there but not accounted for in the stock price.

    This is sort of what the neocons and the Religious Right did to the traditional republicans, and what the teabaggers are doing now to the neocons. The GOP “brand” was under valued because there are a lot of republicans who are not willing to go out and be active except on election day. Those sheeple added a lot of “value” (i.e. votes) to the GOP “brand” but those votes didn’t need to be paid for with actual policies that made sense because of brand loyalty. Those who are willing to call themselves republicans and be active have a disproportionate impact on whatever political positions the republican party takes. This is how you can get positions that make no sense to traditional republicans. People who want government out of their lives, but into the bedrooms of everyone else and the uterus of every woman. People who want the government out of Medicare and Social Security but want subsidies for everything else.

    The ideas make no sense, but if people are willing to vote for them, it doesn’t matter. It is the same as a company with a “good” name selling crap. It doesn’t make any long term sense, the seller is liquidating the good name of the company. It only makes sense if people don’t know what they are buying. Same as in politics.

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