Discrimination and Disparities challenges believers in such one-factor explanations of economic outcome differences as discrimination, exploitation, or genetics. It is readable enough for people with no prior knowledge of economics. Yet the empirical evidence with which it backs up its analysis spans the globe and challenges beliefs across the ideological spectrum.
The point of Discrimination and Disparities is not to recommend some particular policy "fix" at the end, but to clarify why so many policy fixes have turned out to be counterproductive, and to expose some seemingly invincible fallacies behind many counterproductive policies.
The final chapter deals with social visions and their human consequences.
Another fine work by Tom
Discrimination and Disparities by Thomas Sowell is another well researched and put together material by the author. The book outlines two types of discrimination, why people discriminate against their own actions and against others, how others have aimed as a third-party to intervene in a discriminatory process , and the disparities between intended outcomes and the desire for acting for, or against particular kinds of discrimination.
The author starts out by defining discrimination in two ways; discrimination 1, is the rational separating of things, circumstances, and individuals based on particular needs or particular outcome needed. For example, choosing between two separate pairs of shoes as to the one that would lead to the best outcome for the purpose of wearing. While discrimination 2, is a more general aggregate characterization of particular circumstances, situation, persons, or things based on group criteria. For example, saying that a particular pair of shoes will not fit your need because the group of shoes that it falls under generally does not.
What I find compelling about this book is the fact that the author went into an understanding of why people choose to discriminate or not discriminate against particular groups or individuals. The main thing that he highlighted that may lead to either discrimination one or two when dealing with individuals and society is, The Cost of Discrimination. I find this point to be quite important. If the cost of discriminating is high then there would be less discrimination, whether it is discrimination 1 or 2. The converse is true, if the cost of discrimination is low then they’ll be more discrimination. Examples were given about discriminating against black workers in the south during the Jim Crow era, and how southern companies, given the laws supporting discrimination in choosing white workers, many still defied the laws and hire black workers, when the cost of discrimination was too high. When they had to choose between whites and blacks to hire they end up choosing both when the cost of the process of discrimination was too high. When the government enforce the laws and the cost of not discriminating then became higher than the cost of discriminating through government prosecutions and fines, then they did what cost least, they discriminate. The argument here is that if companies are left on their own , they will discriminate or not discriminate based on the cost. Given the free market society we live in companies will choose not to discriminate, since the cost of discrimination is high.
Another major point of the book is that politicians and the media sometimes look at data and interpret and present them in a mistaken way, either deliberately or by accident. They are looking at the same data and coming to different conclusions based on particular agendas. The author highlights the destructive nature of this behavior. I personally believe that this is particularly dangerous as the average person do not read the facts for themselves, or analyze the data thoroughly for themselves. Therefore, they are left to interpret the filtered version given to them by wherever they consume that information.
A striking fact but the author touched on in the book is about slavery, and how people have sorted themselves through time in groups in particular organizations. As it relates to slavery the author highlighted that slavery has become in this country an argument of one race enslaving another, while it’s a known fact that slavery has been around for thousands of years and it mainly began with one race and slaving their own. Proving that the fact that slavery was abolished in the west showed that while they engage in this horrendous activity they somehow “saw the light“ and decided that this was no longer something that could continue and lead the charge in abolishing slavery.
The other point by the author is that people sort and on sort themselves into groups and societies based on their own needs. They are grouped into communities, Attend schools and provide goods and services to each other based on how they have sorted and on sorted them selves in these groups, communities, and organizations.
The most important point about this book, is that individuals should be left alone to sort and on sort themselves in various groups, communities an economic activities, based on their own discrimination (discrimination 1) as they see fit. It is also claiming that the government should stay out of this process. It made some valid points and proved that when people act independently the results are far greater, but when a third-party act for individuals it makes the situation worse, and the intended end of the intervention is never achieved.
HS Education Book for sure!
It would be exceptionally helpful to our country if Sowell's book made into high school class rooms as part of a broader positive education on America's initial free market foundation. Excellent book!
Sowell has been singing the same tune for ages but, his message was never more urgently necessary than today. Although I do find myself exasperated with political leaders who are still calling the same losing plays as described in all his work.