If The Free Market Could Uphold Equality, We’d Already Have It

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Some days, I have this bad habit of trying to figure out how the minds of conservatives and libertarians work. And then I get a headache. If it weren’t for my horse, I wouldn’t have spent that year in college.

The theory hypothesis is that if you just let the market go, society will take care of itself. It’s this odd notion that keeps conservatives bedded to big business (in the name of “small government”). But the right is also bedded to Christianity, so when it comes to any social issue, hypocrisy reigns supreme. And lately, they’ve really tried to conflate the two. They argue that we don’t need to do anything related to civil rights because the market will simply insist upon them. It’s a convenient way to hide their bigotry and stifle progress.

The joke here, though, is that the effects of promoting this conflation (including the Democrats pandering to it) disprove it. How many millions (if not billions) of dollars are wasted or lost for reasons like:

» Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell discharges and the recruitment and training to compensate (at least $363 million, actually)

» An incredibly biased survey of currently serving troops ($4.4 million)

» The Department of Justice unnecessarily defending a law the President has already called for the repeal of

Those are just a couple of ideas as related to one of the many injustices against the LGBT community. We learned in the Prop 8 Trial of the huge financial impact of marriage inequality to just one city.

If the market could really control for human prejudice, it would have already. We wouldn’t be wasting all this money on utter nonsense.

This is just your routine reminder that our opponents operate on lies and fear and nothing more. There is no substance and no reason to their arguments, just a need to control and the intimidation to do it.

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There are 5 Comments to "If The Free Market Could Uphold Equality, We’d Already Have It"

  • libhomo says:

    You make excellent points.

    I would also point out that “free markets” are operationally impossible.

  • Julia says:

    Definitely. Where was the invisible hand of the market in the South during Jim Crow? Discrimination in housing, jobs, services, etc. didn’t vanish because people individually decided “hey, I could make more money if I served white people AND black people too!” In fact, even if they’d tried, it wouldn’t have worked; they’d lose the segregationist market. Equal access had to be forced in by law (or citizen action like sit-ins) to have any chance at working; and even then, enforcement of those laws is extremely difficult (proving discrimination in hiring, for example).

    No, the market won’t magically get us to utopia. Even the principle of people “voting with their dollars” to disincentivize businesses’ bad behavior doesn’t work. Take Wal-Mart. Any progressive worth hir salt knows many, many good reasons to boycott them. But so, so many people who hate their policies still shop there. Without that tangible, direct harm to us (like was present in the Reconstruction South), people aren’t sufficiently motivated to actually vote with their dollars. The market fails.

  • i says:

    As a foreigner, I can’t really comment on US situation with regard to equality, but one thing kinda jumped out for me.

    All the examples given are political. DADT, Prop8, and Jim Crow are/were laws. You cannot blame the free market for obeying the law of the land… unless you want them to ignore any and all laws, that is.

  • ZackFord says:

    But the teabaggers suggest that because of the free market, we don’t need to pass laws that prohibit discrimination.

  • Dymara says:

    i: There weren’t laws that, e.g., forced restaurants to only serve white patrons.

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