Thursday, July 13, 2017

Markets Reduce Bigotry

Mrs. Leslie Colbert: I came by to make it as clear as I possibly can--that I do not want the Negro officer taken off this case.
Mayor Webb Schubert: Negro officer?
Chief Gillespie: Yeah, well he, uh, comes from up North, you see, and he was, uh, kinda passing thru...
Mrs. Leslie Colbert: I don't care what he is. If it wasn't for him, your impartial chief would still have the wrong man behind bars. I want that officer given a free hand. Otherwise, I will pack up my husband's engineers...and leave yourselves.
--In the Heat of the Night

As Friedman observes, markets reduce bigotry. In unhampered markets, people are free to discriminate as they wish. However, if those discriminatory policies result in poor customer service, then those policies will be punished by the market while other sellers with less discriminatory policies will be rewarded.

Stated differently, unhampered markets temper bigotry in the name of self-interest.

On the other hand, regulations (such as, ironically, the Civil Rights Act of 1964) that discourage entrepreneurs from entering industries where bigoted behavior takes place are more likely to make discriminatory behavior more durable.

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