Why it’s wrong to discriminate?

Free access to scriptures religious leaders try to censor

Discrimination is not always a good business decision. So why it should be illegal again? Mensa is also discriminatory. Why does anyone need regulations for this?

What is wrong with differentiated product?

The thing is, effectively, discriminatory businesses are not only taking on additional costs to meet the prejudice of their owners or managers, but also offering a differentiated product. Let’s consider a much less harmful form of discrimination: exclusive clubs. Groups like Mensa charge money to belong to their organizations based on characteristics like scores on IQ tests. They offer some small benefits, yet they aren’t outcompeted by a group that offers those same benefits to the general public. Why? Because the exclusivity is part of what they’re selling. A group that offered a T-shirt with their name on it or access to their clubhouse to the entire population wouldn’t be Mensa. No group offering the same services regardless of IQ scores can price Mensa out of the market, because they’re not selling the same thing.

As a more direct example, a golf club that charges a significant membership fee and won’t accept Jews or black people, or a neighborhood that limits homeowners to a certain religion (and yes, both these still exist) are selling an environment in which people can be surrounded by others who look and think like them. In a similar fashion, discriminatory businesses are actually effectively selling their exclusivity along with their physical products. A bakery that won’t sell cakes to gay customers may well be responding to the owner’s beliefs, but from the perspective of the market they’re also selling a place where customers don’t need to worry about seeing two people of the same sex holding hands. This is compounded by there being correlations between different things that a company can sell: for instance, Chik-Fil-A isn’t just selling an environment hospitable to people who oppose same-sex marriage and inhospitable to LBGTQ people, but rather a conservative Christian environment generally, this last one more explicitly.


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