Counting Crow

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Another insight that I gained into credit markets during the conference is how oppressive small credit markets can be. We all romanticize the days when you could get a loan from your local banker on a handshake and a smile. We forget how that system could lock in local oligarchies, because would-be entrepreneurs couldn't get financing. This could enforce deep repression: consider the fate of a restaurant owner under Jim Crow who had let blacks eat at his lunch counter. I doubt he'd get another loan from the bank any time soon.

That gave me a related thought, which is that staunch federalists (and I'm a fairly staunch one) need to take into account the ways in which all of the theoretically private transactions under Jim Crow were used to enforce a radically unjust regime. I don't know where I stand on this; I'm just mulling it a bit.

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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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