Wednesday, August 13, 2008

John Stossel, Discrimination, and the Good Old Days

John Stossel's latest article argues in favor of a companies right to discriminate, in this case, on the basis or age. But he goes on to make this fascinating statement.
We don't need laws against discrimination. We need a free, competitive marketplace. Competition is better at punishing sexists, racists and "ageists" than clumsy laws. If a boss discriminated against, say, women, he would be demolished by a competitor who obtains better workers by hiring the women the first boss turned away.
Let's look back at the way the world was before such laws were implemented - did companies who discriminated against racial minorities or women suffer? Nope. Everybody was doing it. I don't know of a business that went under because of discrimination. Neither does Stossel.

It's pleasing to think this - by the same token it's pleasing to imagine that Consumers can force high environmental standards by refusing to patronize those businesses or products who choose to pollute. But it doesn't seem to be the way the world works.

John Stossel also makes this trenchant observation.
Good intentions are irrelevant. Public policy always has unintended bad consequences.
Now there's a conservative point of view. It almost seems like we shouldn't have any public policy at all.

No comments: