Thursday, December 26, 2013

Not for Profit Racism

Over at Forbes.com I found an article that argues the way to "wipe out" racism is "selfish greed" in the form of laissez-faire capitalism. Here are some choice quotes, communicating the tortured sophistry of the author:

Now, what about a racist bigot who is also selfish and greedy? He’s caught in a dilemma. As greedy, he craves his profit. Money is supposed to be the only thing he cares about. But as a racist, he has to care about something unrelated to money: race. What to do?

You see the problem for him is one simple fact: racism is irrational. The rational way to make hiring decisions is not by skin color but by expected performance.

Selfish greed says: hire those who will contribute the most to the bottom line. Racism says: don’t look at that, look at race.

There’s another problem for the bigot. What if men of the race he hates, who are equally qualified, are willing to work for less? Say the employer is anti-black. Is he going to refuse to hire blacks who are asking lower wages than whites are getting?

How much is he willing to pay to indulge his racism? And if he does indulge it, how will he compete with other employers who hire strictly by ability?



AA Responds:

I've encountered this strain of reasoning before. It is usually attached to the concept that one cannot be a racist libertarian, because libertarians are for completely open borders, and racists are not. This is truly a disingenuous form of logic in that its true goal is to reinterpret the exploitation of brown people in overseas sweat shops as a form of in-group disloyalty, even though the primary beneficiaries of the exploitation continue to be the Chalky consumers in service-based economies in the First World.

Another problem is that the logic is terribly flawed, in that it is extremely narrowly applied. Racism is irrational the author opines. So is consumer sentiment. If you own a restaurant that primarily serves green people who intensely dislike purple people, and you are faced with the decision to hire a higher-paid green server or a lower-paid purple server, who will you hire? In this case, green-people racism means you will lose customers if you hire the purple person. So what to do? Close shop?

Racism is irrational the author opines. It's easy to pick on racism as the vile thing your philosophy snuffs out - but what about equally irrational concepts like nationalism, patriotism, civic pride, religious charity, and family loyalty? If your nation is occupied - simply collaborate, right? That's where the profits are! Buy your country's war bonds? Not so fast - choose whose bonds to buy based on which side you think will win. Mom of "Mom & Pops Grocery" too slow on the cash register? Divorce that bitch and make it just "Pop's Grocery".

It is easiest to illustrate the absurdity of "selfish greed" wiping out racism by asking the question, just what type of greed were the proponents of African slavery practicing?

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