Re: [sixties-l] disparities

From: Jeffrey Apfel (
Date: 10/06/00

  • Next message: Peter Levy: "Re: [sixties-l] disparities"

    Calm down, David. I was in a sense taking your point of view.  Note that
    I wrote it "would be facile" to say no discrimination exists, not that
    you denied its existence.  I was emphasizing the good elements of Mark's
    post, which rightly argued that economic theory does not always guide
    human action.  If you bothered to read to the end of my short post,
    you'd note that I agree that market forces tend to be indifferent to
    such things as skin color, and thus have formed the backdrop for
    progressive notions that people typically think of as divorced from, or
    antithetical to, capitalism.
    So two cheers for capitalism, as they say.  But, c'mon, just because
    market forces are allied with "the good" in this instance is no
    guarantee that they always are.  The market is just a big, dumb force,
    sometimes sweeping away segregation and sometimes contributing to the
    dumbing down of the culture.  That's my problem with the Hayek set, with
    which I assume you are now affililiated.  Capitalism is perfectly able
    to tear down gods that I happen to worship.  In such cases I have no
    obligation to pray at the altar of market forces--indeed I would be
    foolish to do so.
    Jeff Apfel
    David Horowitz wrote:
    > Whoever said anything about no discrimination. The point is that those
    > who discriminate lose, because it means they pay more for poorer
    > quality workers and force discriminated against workers to work for
    > lower wages thus increasing the profits of  competitors who don't
    > discriminate. Unless you think all employers are racists, then in the
    > long run those who are not will benefit from the uneconomic bigotry of
    > their rivals. Get it?
    > Jeffrey Apfel wrote:
    >> Mark Bunster wrote:
    >> > We do not, as people, generally walk around executing perfect
    >> theoretical capitalism. My boss
    >> > may be working (and thriving) under capitalist principles, but
    >> he's not using a playbook. Did
    >> > the owner of the lunch kitchen in Greensboro say to himself, "By
    >> golly, it just doesn't make
    >> > good capitalist SENSE to turn away business! Here, sit right down
    >> and have some coffee! What
    >> > can I get you?"
    >> I agree with both Mark and David, sort of.  Mark is correct that
    >> pure supply and demand
    >> capitalism only exists in theory.  Capitalism's operations are
    >> conducted in the real world by
    >> slabs of meat with gooey grey matter in their skulls and odd
    >> impulses inherited via natural
    >> selection.  So it would be facile to say that since we exist in a
    >> capitalistic economy, voila, no
    >> discrimination is possible since it is not logical.  We are not Mr.
    >> Spocks.
    >> On the other hand, I would guess David's broader point is that the
    >> creative/destructive aspect of
    >> capitalism may have played, and continues to play, a significant
    >> role in the movement toward
    >> "equality".  We flatter ourselves to think that our noble motives
    >> are divorced from history.  In
    >> fact, good Marxists must certainly agree that capitalism's force
    >> puts pressure on cultural values
    >> to reorder themselves to suit its demands.  Sometimes it's violent
    >> video games for ten year olds;
    >> sometimes it's a cry for justice that seems on its face divorced
    >> from the world of filthy lucre.
    >> Jeff Apfel

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