Capitalism succeeds despite discrimination

info@islandpacket.comApril 24, 2013 

Recent letters have objected to state Sen. Tom Davis' complaint about a school art project that quoted Malcolm X's statement, "You can't have capitalism without racism."

I agree with the writers that Davis should not have tried to censor this message, if that was his intent. But the quote itself is nonsense.

Capitalism advanced in this country in the 19th and 20th centuries despite racism, not because of it. Racism impaired the efficiency of America's capitalist economy by arbitrarily excluding a large pool of talent from all but the lowest levels of the work force. The same was true of discrimination based on sex, ethnicity or any other factor besides ability.

The drastic reduction in these kinds of discrimination that began in the latter part of the 20th century not only made our society more fair, it also made our economy more efficient and productive.

No doubt a change in people's hearts contributed to this improvement. But so did market discipline. In today's competitive global markets, a business owner simply cannot afford to let business decisions be distorted by expensive personal prejudices.

Bob Snyder

Hilton Head Island

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