Albers School of Business and Economics



Faculty Mentor

Erik Olsen

Faculty Editor

Erik Olsen

Student Editor

Hatcher Chapman


Economic liberalism has built a market system that is founded on the belief that it is separate from other social institutions, that it is self-regulating, and that it operates without bias. This paper claims that despite the classical liberal values that the market is built to serve, capitalism exists within a context in which societal contracts like cultural and racial contracts influence market outcomes. Specifically, the racial contract in the United States contextualizes the capitalist free market system as a system that normalizes, empowers, and encourages the exploitation and abuse of Nonwhite people, specifically Black and Indigenous folks. The market was constructed and functions within a white supremacist society, which means that its outcomes uphold white supremacy. By weaving discussions of the foundations of the free market system like market embeddedness, neoliberalism and economization, settler versus Indigenous views of land, and the creation of racial contracts, the paper details how capitalism and white supremacy are intimately related. Ultimately, the domination and exploitation of Nonwhite people will continue to be an integral part of the liberal capitalist market system, regardless of whether this is done consciously or not. It will continue because it is built into the structures of the market. The project of challenging white supremacy, then, is directly tied up in the project of dismantling the capitalist market.