OCTOBER 6, 2020 | 12:30PM – 1:15PM EDT
The Moral And Economic Imperative To Eliminate Inequality
The Moral And Economic Imperative To Eliminate Inequality
The entities who provide funding and credit liquidity for the U.S. mortgage market control the fate of millions of consumers who are trying to maintain or obtain the American Dream of homeownership. Since the 2008 financial collapse, the secondary housing finance system has been in flux with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac still in conservatorship and private market players, who once held a large swath of the market, still deciding what will be their role.
As quasi government entities, the GSEs have important missions to promote credit access to all market segments including underserved areas and low- and moderate-income communities. They also have critical fair housing and fair lending obligations. Yet, since the organizations’ creation, millions of people have been denied the opportunities of a financial system free from discrimination and have had restricted access to fair and affordable credit. In response to recent unrest and the grave racial disparities related to the COVID-19 pandemic, financial institutions, including the GSEs, have issued statements pledging to do what they can to advance racial justice and equality.
The U.S economy has not worked well for people of color who have a fraction of the wealth of their white counterparts. Much of the wealth gap is rooted in the widening homeownership gap and diminishing access to affordable housing opportunities. In this session, leaders in the secondary housing finance market will discuss the role of Fannie, Freddie, and private market entities in advancing opportunity and efforts to fulfill both the letter and spirit of the nation’s fair housing and fair lending laws.
October 6, 2020 | 1:30pm – 3:00pm EDT
Shocks To The System: The Economics of Inequality
Millions of people have long been denied the opportunities of a market free of bias, discrimination, and racism. In fact, segments of our society have experienced varied forms of economic and physical violence which traumatize not only the individuals who have been on the receiving end but the communities in which they live. These harmful acts present shocks to individual and larger economic systems that sometimes take centuries to overcome. Regressive laws and policies have created a system that is fundamentally unequal and determined our individual and collective economic progress. Recent policy solutions, like the CARES Act, contribute to the growing inequality that is clearly harming communities of color. Against the odds, groups experiencing systemic racism and discrimination have disrupted norms to build financial independence and opportunity.
A major challenge to addressing and overcoming these deleterious policies has been the lack of attention and focus on how unfair policies also harm the broader society. We are just beginning to touch the surface about the true costs of lost opportunities due to discrimination. For too long leading economists, to the detriment of the greater society, have either dodged these issues their entire careers or had inadequate responses. In response to recent unrest and the grave disparities related to the COVID-19 pandemic, some economists have been sounding the alarm, issuing a call to action and advising that addressing racial discrimination and inequality is both a moral and economic imperative. Lost opportunities decrease productivity. If we do not transform our society and re-think our economic policies, it will result in dire consequences for our nation and jeopardize our individual and mutual success. This panel will discuss efforts to calculate the true costs of discrimination and the intersectionality of fair housing, equal opportunity, and economics to examine our nation’s troubled history and explore reparative solutions to (re)construct our society and expand equal opportunity.
Dr. Lisa Cook
Professor of Economics, Michigan State University, School of International Relations
Dr. Darrick Hamilton
Henry Cohen University Professor of Economics and Urban Policy, & Founder of the Institute for the Study of Race, Stratification and Political Economy at The New School
International Artist, Writer, Event Coordinator, and Educator
Black Queer Poet and Sex Worker
Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission
Technology shapes our lives in ways that we have not fully appreciated. Whether we are selected for a job, what type of healthcare we receive, how much we pay to access credit, what types of insurance products are available to us, whether we are arrested, and so much more are impacted by technology we often do not understand. These systems exist behind shields of proprietary protections, trade secrets and opaque boxes that obfuscate just how deeply they control our lives. The more we understand the science behind artificial intelligence, the better we can fashion policies and practices to ensure these systems help, rather than harm, us. Some of the nation’s most important voices on tech and AI equity discuss what’s at stake and how to build an infrastructure that demands fairness in the technologies that shape our world.
As the nation grapples with the systemic issues that lie at the root of COVID-19 related disparities and the unrest throughout our cities, we cannot forget about the technologies that help administer and drive discriminatory outcomes. Algorithmic-based systems are manifesting discrimination for myriad reasons including biased datasets. Unrepresentative, insufficient, and biased feedback loops perpetuate the discriminatory outcomes we continue to find in common technologies used in the housing, lending, health, educational, and criminal justice sectors.
With our increasing reliance on algorithmic based systems, we have an opportunity to really move the needle on advancing equality. If we are going to create a just and fair society, we must embrace new methodologies for eliminating bias from our technology. We must also ardently work to diversify the tech industry. This panel will explore bias in data and technology and solutions for eliminating injustice in algorithmic-based systems.