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Social Justice versus Social Equality: The Capitalistic Jurisprudence of Marcus Garvey

Otis B. Grant
Journal of Black Studies
Vol. 33, No. 4 (Mar., 2003), pp. 490-498
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3180876
Page Count: 9
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Social Justice versus Social Equality: The Capitalistic Jurisprudence of Marcus Garvey
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Abstract

During the 1920s, the Garvey movement challenged Black intellectualism, which at the time was in the midst of a renaissance. Influenced by the philosophy of Booker T. Washington and considered irreparably idealistic, Garveyism, nevertheless, remains the largest sociopolitical race movement in history. Throughout his legal quandaries, Garvey accurately articulated that the American legal system was highly bureaucratized and that the efficient processing of legal matters was the system's paramount concern. Garvey's ideology eerily resembles the law and economics paradigm of contemporary American justice, and his embrace of social justice over social equality is now realized in the rational choice framework of the American legal system. Consequently, Garvey remains relevant because he correctly surmised that capitalism is the cornerstone of righteousness and thus social justice should be evaluated by a capitalistic yardstick rather than by a social justice paradigm.

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