T Nation

Political Economy of Hate

Fascinating paper here:



What determines the intensity and objects of hatred? Hatred forms when people believe that out-groups are responsible for past and future crimes, but the reality of past crimes has little to do with the level of hatred. Instead, hatred is the result of an equilibrium where politicians supply stories of past atrocities in order to discredit the opposition and consumers listen to them. The supply of hatred is a function of the degree to which minorities gain or lose from particular party platforms, and as such, groups that are particularly poor or rich are likely to be hated. Strong constitutions that limit the policy space and ban specific anti-minority policies will limit hate. The demand for hatred falls if consumers interact regularly with the hated group, unless their interactions are primarily abusive. The power of hatred is so strong that opponents of hatred motivate their supporters by hating the haters.

This plays very well into my oft-repeated argument that focusing on past wrongs is extremely counterproductive, and that integration of people of various racial/ethnic backgrounds is a key going forward. Almost every country and group would do better materially if they just settled their differences and got on with their lives.

the paper was never published in a peer reviewed journal, and i can guess why.

not saying he isn’t possibly right, but the abstract looks funny. the guy speaks the lingo, but i hope this is more then arm-chair research.

i’ll shut up till i read it though.

Scapegoating is as old as humanity itself.

Now that abstract thinking is THE ticket to a good life, those who are poor and uneducated get left behind. Rather than do a ‘Bill Cosby’ and try to acquire skills that lead out of the trap, it is far easier to blame someone else.

[quote]stokedporcupine wrote:
the paper was never published in a peer reviewed journal, and i can guess why.

Yeah, they hated it. (OK, bad joke)

I downloaded it to read latter, but it does seem to make sense. I’m with you BB in that although we can atone for the past, we have to look forward.

The demand for hatred of a specific group may fall with interaction, but overall demand for hatred is mostly a function of feelings of insecurity and anxiety, as the author seems to recognize, resulting in a non-zero lower bound. Moreover there are essentially an infinite number of overlapping group identities in this world defined in every way imaginable, so interacting with a few groups can’t reasonably be expected to have a huge impact on the overall level of hatred consumed. Political entrepreneurs will always find other targets. Smaller targets may not be sufficient on their own but many linked together by some thread- real or not- can provide a satisfying target. One example of this would be the “perpetrator of moral decay in America” which links groups of varying interests as one mass conspiracy-- the conspiracy theory is a common thme-- destroying everything.

I hate you too. Now give me a dollar.

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:
Fascinating paper here:

I didn’t read the paper, only the abstract. I consider this to be common sence. Someone will allways hate, but before that hatred can become a force in society, there must be something wrong in the society. Otherwise it can not gain enough momentum to affect anyone but on a personal, limited level.

Ofcourse, this is made more complicated by the fact that there is always some older grievances under the surface. I totally agree with you, focusing on the past is counterproductive. On the other hand, because of the power that past grievances can store, they can not be brushed aside too lightly. The arguments on this board about racism and what is racism in the first place is an good example.

For example, the civil war in Finland took place 90 years ago and doesn’t affect life today in any way, but if life would suddenly become much more harsh, I have no doubt that it could again play a role in politics.

The scope of the article is pretty limited. Hate is not limited to politics. Look at all the people here who hate fat people. I don’t think fat people ever did anything to hurt the bodybuilders. And what politician gains from promoting that idea?

OK, maybe not the greatest example.

I’ll agree that hate is a consequence of separatism. My hypothesis would be that hate can be created to explain an existing schism between groups. “We don’t associate with them, therefore we must hate them.” Then the politicians exploit that.