Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Stumbling and Mumbling: A racist "European model"?

Posted this over at Stumbling and Mumbling: A racist "European model"? which argues that market-driven societies lead to less racism. Will come back to this argument once again when I have time - probably in a few years... :)

"Reminds me of a BBC Radio 4 programme. I agree with what some other posters (e.g. stu) have said - money itself has no bias, just as technology or atoms don't. But I don't believe that profit-seeking and cultural bias are inherently mutually exclusive. I would say that markets and technology (moreso the latter) have meant that transactions have become more "anonymous", so that the possibilities for bias are removed (e.g. on-line commerce, finance by proxy, etc), but that would merely hide any racism that continues to exists in non-market society, without actually addressing the issue. Do markets, as another example, lead to a redressing of the imbalance in sexism?

If you were to argue that racism is less apparent because we're more isolated, and because we're forced less to interact with people that we don't want to... that's an interesting avenue."


chris said...

It's important to distinguish between racist attitudes and racist behaviour. My argument is that markets reduce the latter (they might reduce the former too - but that's another story).
Case in point - Ron Atkinson. He has racist attitudes. But competition - market forces - caused him to employ black players in the late 70s, when few other managers did so. This is what I mean when I say competition drives out racism - greed is a cure for racism, as well as for laziness.

Scribe said...

In light of increasing racism and current high profile events, I don't accept that limiting one (behaviour) without addressing the other (attitudes) has any real value. Perhaps competition drives out racism, but perhaps it drives it straight into all of the non-market aspects of society - which is a fairly large part.

I wonder if there's any chance that, by repressing racist behaviours in the market, racist behaviours elsewhere are increased - an outlet, as it were. "Displacement", rather than "cure".