Is Immanuel Wallerstein's theory on capitalism and cognitive dissonance empirically verifiable?

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The Politicus
Jan 09, 2022 07:54 PM 0 Answers
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In the past I have heard people assert that racism is caused by capitalism, and this has never really made sense to me.

However, this answer references a theory by Immanuel Wallerstein that explains how capitalism leads to racism. In a nutshell, capitalism causes inequality, and inequality causes cognitive dissonance (the wealthy like the existing system but also feel guilty about it). To relieve the dissonance, the wealthy shift poverty onto an easily identifiable group (such as a specific race) so they can believe that it is the group's fault that they are poor, not the system's fault.

This makes a lot of sense to me, but it is not obvious to me whether it is true. Is there a way to empirically verify whether this theory holds water? I can imagine a psychological study could verify that inequality causes guilt and cognitive dissonance, but how would one verify that people repsond to the cognitive dissonance by shifting poverty onto people who are "other"?

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  • January 9, 2022