Reparations for Racial Wealth Disparity as Remedy for Social Contract Breach

21 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2021 Last revised: 29 Nov 2021

See all articles by Martha M. Ertman

Martha M. Ertman

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

Date Written: November 4, 2021

Abstract

Acute crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2008 financial meltdown exposed and exacerbated chronic racial wealth disparities. Those disparities accumulated over time as government and private actions—often involving contracts—systemically benefitted White Americans and institutions at the expense of African-Americans. This essay focuses on a private law mechanism—loan contracts—as one important contributor to systemic racial wealth disparities, labels particular lending contracts and related government action as breaches of the social contract, and proposes a restitution-based form of reparations as a remedy for that breach.

Keywords: contract, social contract, reparations, racial injustice, crisis

Suggested Citation

Ertman, Martha M., Reparations for Racial Wealth Disparity as Remedy for Social Contract Breach (November 4, 2021). Law and Contemporary Problems, Forthcoming, U of Maryland Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2021-12, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3966654

Martha M. Ertman (Contact Author)

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law ( email )

500 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-1786
United States

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