Tomorrow’s Detroits & Detroit’s Tomorrows

Nov 11–12, 2016 Download .ics

Detroit, Michigan | Wayne State University

Economics has a race problem.

Traditional economics, like the ethos of the “American Dream,” tells us that our individual talents and efforts determine whether or not we succeed in life. Yet, an overwhelming body of evidence shows that people of color have been denied the same opportunities to succeed in America. Race is not only a defining feature of social identity and an arbiter of access to power and privilege; for far too many Americans, race - a social construction - is a fundamental determinant of their economic destiny.

On November 12, 2016, the Institute for New Economic Thinking, along with professors john a. powell and Darrick Hamilton, will convene a diverse array of leading academics, public figures, journalists, and community leaders in Detroit, Michigan for our inaugural conference on race and economics in America. The event, titled Tomorrow’s Detroits and Detroit’s Tomorrows, will examine how racial fears and centuries of racism continue to perpetuate damaging structural inequities in wealth, environment, employment, health, educational access, and treatment by the criminal justice system. We will explore how economic structure and policies exacerbate racial conflict, how racial tension influences economic structure, and look at the history, hardships, and healing of Detroit Michigan — a city whose economic decline presents a challenge for all Americans.

Friday, November 11

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

3:00 PM Welcome Address
Rob Johnsonjohn a. powell

3:10 PM 


History of Detroit
Ren Farleyjohn a. powellThomas Sugrue

4:45 PM 


History of Race: A Social Construction and its Representation in Economics
Rob JohnsonThomas C. LeonardBrendan O'FlahertyJack Tchen

6:30 PM Dinner
7:30 PM A Grownup Conversation About Race and Class
Rev. Dr. William Barber > Watch The Video
8:00 PM Closing Remarks
john a. powell

Saturday, November 12

Wayne State University, Student Center Ballroom

9:00 AM 


Bearing Witness to Headwinds: Housing, Wealth Health and Employment
James CarrMarlene KimWilliam LazonickBrendan O'FlahertyTom Shapiro

11:00 AM    

Bearing Witness to Headwinds: Education, Criminal Justice and Prisons
Amanda AlexanderGeert DhondtSamuel Myers

12:45 PM    Lunch Keynote: Why Racism is Bad for Business?
Ron FournierTom Lewand, Jacques Panis
1:45 PM    

The Interactions of Race & Economic Structure
Lisa CookDarrick HamiltonArjun JayadevMario SeccarecciaPeter Temin

3:50 PM    

Healing "Otherness": Neuroscience, Perception Bias, and Messaging
Phillip GoffAlexis McGill Johnsonjohn a. powell

5:15 PM    

The Future History of All Detroits: The Ecology of Hope, and the Lessons for our Increasingly Diverse Cities in the Future
Alicia GarzaJerry HerronRashad RobinsonGavin Wright

7:20 PM    

Closing Remarks
Rob Johnsonjohn a. powell

Explore the issues

Help Frame The Conversation

  • How can we heal racial inequality in America?
  • Where does economics fall short in addressing race? How can it improve?
  • Do you have specific questions for any of our panelists?

Reply with the hashtag #EconOfRace

Event location

Friday, November 11, 2016

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 315 E. Warren Avenue, Detroit, Michigan

Click here for accessibility information

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Wayne State University, Student Center Ballroom, 5221 Gullen Mall, Detroit, Michigan 

Click here for Click here for accessibility information


Meet the leaders and scholars whose new thinking guides our work. View all speakers

  • Amanda Alexander

    Assistant Professor, University of Michigan

  • Rev. Dr. William Barber

    President, North Carolina NAACP

    Pastor, Greenleaf Christian Church

  • James Carr

    Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

    Coleman A. Young Endowed Chair and Professor of Urban Affairs, Wayne State University

  • Lisa D. Cook

    Assistant Professor of Economics and International Relations, Michigan State University

  • Geert Dhondt

    Associate Professor and Chair of Economics Department, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

  • Reynolds Farley

    Research Scientist, Population Studies Center

    Otis Dudley Duncan Professor Emeritus, University of Michigan

  • Alicia Garza

    Special Projects Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance

    Co-Founder, #BlackLivesMatter

  • Phillip Goff

    Associate Professor of Social Psychology, UCLA

    Franklin A. Thomas Professor in Policing Equity, John Jay University

  • Darrick Hamilton

    Associate Professor of Economics and Urban Policy, The New School

  • Jerry Herron

    Dean, Irvin D. Reid Honors College, Wayne State University

  • Arjun Jayadev

    Senior Economist, INET

  • Marlene Kim

    Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Boston

  • William Lazonick

    Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Lowell

    President, The Academic-Industry Research Network

  • Thomas Leonard

    Lecturer, Department of Economics, Princeton University

    Research Scholar, Council of the Humanities, Princeton University

  • Alexis McGill Johnson

    Executive Director, Perception Institute

  • Rob Johnson

    President, INET

  • Samuel Myers

    Roy Wilkins Professor of Human Relations and Social Justice, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota

    Director, Roy Wilkins Center for Human Relations and Social Justice

  • Brendan O'Flaherty

    Professor of Economics , Columbia University

  • john a. powell

    Governing Board, INET

  • Rashad Robinson

    Executive Director, Color Of Change

  • Mario Seccareccia

    Professor of Economics, University of Ottawa

  • Tom Shapiro

    Pokross Professor of Law and Social Policy, Brandeis University

    Director, Institute on Assets and Social Policy

  • Thomas Sugrue

    Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis and History, New York University

  • John Kuo Wei Tchen

    Founding Director, A/P/A Institute at New York University

    Co-Founder and Senior Historian, Museum of Chinese in America

  • Peter Temin

    Elisha Gray II Professor Emeritus of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • Gavin Wright

    William Robertson Coe Professor of American Economic History, Stanford University