An open marketplace plays a part in more areas than most people realize. The role is often overlooked in the areas of segregation and discrimination. Supporters of free markets support the right to associate with whoever you wish, while at the same time abhor individual liberties being taken away based on race or an association to other groups. So where is the line? Can the two ever truly within a free market, absent of coercion?
Originally recorded in 1987, economist Jennifer Roback had studied the economics of discrimination for years. What role does the free market have in alleviating discrimination? “Well, there’s certainly no question in my mind that the marketplace can do a great deal more than the common person gives it credit for. And so I think that it’s, it’s not quite fair to say well let the market take care of it and everything will be fine. That’s not quite true, but it’s a lot closer to being true then what most people think. And the reason it’s not quite true to say let the market take care of it is that the market itself is embedded in a whole set of legal and cultural institutions and you have to address those. And that’s what’s so challenging about this line of research, is that you can’t just say well let the market take care of it and you’re finished with your story, that can’t be the end of the story. You have to ask what legal institutions support the market. What do we mean by a contract? What do we mean by a legal remedy and so forth?”
Join this 1987 conversation as Roback discusses the intricacies of this touchy subject in the latest episode of the Free To Choose Media Podcast, Jennifer Roback.
Original Record Date: 1987