David Attanasio of Universidad de los Andes, Facultad de Derecho has posted "Mass Reparations in Unequal and Resource-Limited Societies: A Social Repair Framework." Here is Attanasio's abstract:
While it has received limited treatment in the international reparations literature, Pablo Kalmanovitz and Rodrigo Uprimny have drawn attention to a deep problem that confronts the design of mass reparations programs in developing states: the constraints imposed by social inequality and a lack of public resources. Under such circumstances, an ideal of reparations that seeks to undo the serious human rights violations suffered or to return to the status quo ante seems inappropriate, as it would require transfers of limited public resources to the wealthy victims and would provide inadequate attention to poor victims.
In this article, I propose a general framework for reparations in a transitional context that can appropriately guide the design of reparations in light of these tensions: a framework of social repair. Drawing some ideas from reconciliation or atonement-based solutions to problems of multi-generational or historical injustice, I develop a version of the idea appropriate to a transitional context that looks to the past wrong as the reason to repair the relationship of a victim to his or her state or society. Because, as I argue, the requirements on reparations that flow from an ideal of social repair are highly contextual — depending on the victim’s and the society’s circumstances — it can appropriately shape the required reparations in response to limited public resources and social inequality.
As a framework for transitional contexts, social repair not only solves in a principled manner the central problem, but also provides appropriate resources to develop the details of areparations program — including the appropriate role of symbolic dimensions of reparations. It can theoretically explain some reasonable policy suggestions made by Uprimny with regards to prioritizing material reparations for poor and socially excluded victims, while also providing the resources to determine to what degree reparations ought to prioritize such victims. But beyond concrete policy suggestions, the framework should be useful for thinking about reparations in a variety of different developing states with very different circumstances, as the framework provides general tools for analyzing reparations proposals.
Unfortunately, when it comes to reparations every society is resource-limited. That is, there aren't near enough resources to repair for all the harms of the past and there must be some way of ordering the claims. Attanasio is really onto something by prioritizing the people most in need. This is where a lot of talk of reparations for slavery and Jim Crow in the United States has gone in recent years (such as here).