Big Government and Affirmative Action: The Scandalous History of the Small Business Administration
(University Press of Kentucky, 2001)
Since its establishment in 1953 as a successor to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, the Small Business Administration has remained virtually sacrosanct, at least in part because of its ability to identify and nurture constituencies. One of the most important of those efforts has been its ability to create various racial preferences and incentives for participation in the system. Not only are more ethnicities categorized as "disadvantaged" (Asians, Hispanics, etc.), but minority "fronts" have sprung up to qualify firms for special governmental patronage. This has in turn led to a plethora of regulations governing ethnicity. In his new book, historian Jonathan J. Bean chronicles the history of the SBA and draws parallels between small business "set-asides" and racial preferences. Please join us as Bean documents the history of the SBA, while Eugene Foley and Roger Clegg provide alternative perspectives on racial preferences and governmental policy.