Gary Becker passed away the other day, and I’d like to think he would have loved this connection.
Becker argued, starting almost 60 years ago, that discrimination is pushed by legal structures rather than businesses. In short, given the freedom to operate, businesses will recognize that discrimination hurts their bottom line.*
It turns out that, back in the day when society and the legal system aggressively combatted gay and lesbian night clubs … it was the Mafia that ran them, and paid off the cops to encourage fake raids instead of real ones. In short, the wise guys were more interested in making money than enforcing social mores.
* Do note that this is not the position of contemporary advocacy groups, who seem to note first that businesses have large amounts of expropriatable cash flow.
Via Carpe Diem.