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Cost and Racism
on May 2, 2011
Many people see racism as a problem that exists in the private sector, that can be solved by officials in the public sector. Walter Williams turns this popular view of racism on its head. Public policies often put minorities at a disadvantage. Racists often find it easier to discriminate through public policy than through private enterprise. Williams is extending the cost-driven theoretical arguments of Gary Becker on the economics of discrimination. He uses many interesting examples to support the idea that government intervention serves as the primary means of discrimination: minimum wage laws, licensing, and other restrictions on otherwise free markets. These are controversial propositions that will offend some readers. Hopefully most people will read it critically and in so doing benefit from its well reasoned and supported arguments.