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Unformatted text preview: Affirmative Action Read pg. 440-457, 465-470 Ch. 11 Notes • Affirmative Action o In the context of the debates that structure business ethics, it’s important to frame the affirmative action debate properly if we want to understand its stakes o If we start with the free market economics model, then we presume that we have rational, self-interested individuals who freely exchange goods without government interference, fraud, or coercion in the marketplace o If any of those conditions aren’t fulfilled, the model goes off track For instance, if people of certain races, or women, or members of certain classes were forcibly prohibited (whether by law or by private citizens) from playing the game, it would be patently unfair Likewise, if various social institutions that enable people to make money and have property were unfairly discriminatory and exclusionary (again, whether enforced by law or private citizens), the economics and business game would be patently unfair • The radical libertarian position should, at least logically, be radically opposed to all such forms of discrimination o It prides itself on the right to maximal personal autonomy and private property rights o It also prides itself on being opposed to the initiation of coercion of any form (which is different from retaliation, of course) o So, does that mean that the libertarian, CSR model supports affirmative action? o In principle, it could; affirmative action would have to function here as a retaliatory , intervention, a way of stopping (through law and government regulation) the most egregious injustices in the marketplace and associated institutions • The free market argument against discrimination o Our thesis is that markets don’t reward discrimination and that discrimination would end if the principles of free market economics are followed those employers who don’t hire qualified minority candidates are depriving themselves of drawing from a wider labor pool (and similar arguments can be made for supply, compensation, promotion, etc) the adds to the cost of doing business and leads to loss of profit racial and sexual discrimination makes you a weaker competitor in brief, it is irrational to discriminate in the marketplace on the basis of race, sex, class, etc. o And yet, no one will deny that discrimination along these lines persists • Now, this argument makes good theoretical sense o But what if you are in an actual , local market where consumers have racist, sexist, etc. tastes and demands? Or what if consumers refuse to buy from you if you hire minority candidates or bring in foreign products from the latest devil country? And so on… o Now, you could say that these consumers are being irrational— it makes no sense for them to base economic decisions on their peculiar prejudices...
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This note was uploaded on 05/03/2008 for the course PHIL 320 taught by Professor Calarco during the Spring '08 term at CSU Fullerton.
- Spring '08