Interest Convergence as Transaction
75 U. PITT. L. REV. 693 (2014)
18 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2016
Date Written: 2014
This article experiments with an application of Professor Derrick Bell’s interest convergence theory by framing it in a transactional context to promote regional equity. The article asserts that the interest convergence theory has limitations when applied in rights-based contexts (such as access to public education) that may not exist where the theory is deployed in transactional contexts where value creation is the dominant motivation of the involved parties. While Professor Bell developed the interest convergence theory to explain the Supreme Court’s decision to desegregate public education in Brown by essentially arguing that the Court reached its decision because of a convergence of social interests held by white elites and blacks, the article charts how many of those interests identified by Bell no longer seem to exist today, as evidenced by our rapidly desegregating public school system. Employing an equitable economic development framework, the article then suggests that the application of the interest convergence theory is a transactional context could lead to more fluid interest convergences that, as a result of their fluidity, could stretch to accommodate changes in interests while fundamentally remaining aligned—an outcome that is not possible in a rights-based context where zero sum game dominates.
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