The problem–well, one of them—with trying to control how other people choose to live their lives is that nobody’s smart enough to do it without making things worse. Still,a lot of sociologists and politicians think they are smart enough.
Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Fort Worth, Birmingham, and Georgia’s DeKalb County have passed restrictions on dollar stores, and other communities are debating whether to follow their example, where laws and zoning regulations limit how many of these small stores can open within a particular area. Other laws dictate what they can and can’t sell, most notably fresh food. You see, the antipathy to dollar stores is based on the narrative pushed by activists that they saturate poor neighborhoods with cheap, over-processed food, squeezing out other retailers and lowering the quality of nutrition in poor communities. An analyst for the Center for Science in the Public Interest makes the argument, “When you have so many dollar stores in one neighborhood, there’s no incentive for a full-service grocery store to come in.” Dollar stores, like Dollar Tree and Dollar General, the researchers say, make neighborhoods seem poor, and scare away better stores, “locking in poverty rather than reducing it,” as one told the Washington Post.
Ah! Poor nutrition is the fault of dollar stores!
Oops! Continue reading
I’m not sure this photo fits exactly, but I’ve been dying to use it for years, so what the heck…
Are women inherently worth as a much as their male counterparts in similar or the same jobs?
Here is reader slickwilly’s Comment of the Day on yesterday’s post, “Thank The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team For Illuminating The Muddled Ethics Of Wage Gap Arguments In Women’s Professional Sports”:
This is rich… equal pay for an equal job… when the job (and skills) are equal.
Years (decades) ago, I was a trainee engineer for a large company. Part of the job was installation of large racks of equipment involving a fully stocked tool box, weighing between 35 and 50 pounds.
Many of the buildings we installed in did not have elevators, so you carried tools and supplies up flights of stairs.
Another trainee was a slip of a girl, likely 125 lbs soaking wet. She was good once on site, but could not carry her own toolbox up a single flight of stairs, or help when major upper body strength was needed to move equipment into position. Yet she got the same pay and incentives the guys did, for less work (she sat around while the guys lugged stuff up the stairs.) There was no offsetting brilliance that compensated for her lack: just plain competent work when she could perform it. Don’t think the guys did not grumble about doing her work in addition to theirs!
To add insult to injury, she was promoted out of the field first because a)she was black; b) she was a she; and c) the work supervisors wanted a stronger person working the jobs (they did not get extra time to do the job when she was on the crew, either) and could not fire her because of the optics of a) and b). This was a corrupt form of the Peter principle, and my first exposure to such.
Another take: in the Army, each person in a platoon must carry his weight and be able to carry a wounded teammate to safety… unless that person was female. Females could not carry their own equipment, depending on their role, and most likely could not carry a man out of battle. And the standards by which they are judges are not the same. You must be able to pass a fitness test of a certain number of push ups, sit ups, and be able to run two miles under a certain time. This scale slides down by age (an 18 year old must do more than a 35 year old to pass, and rightly so) but the scale is significantly reduced for a female soldier. So a female might be able to do 12 push ups, but get a higher test score for those than an 18 year old who could do 40 push ups)
You won't need that portrait any more, Dorian...the Americans with Disabilities Act has you covered!
It is rare that an ethics train wreck of culture-wide proportions can be prevented with a firm, “Shut up, and go away!” This appears to be one of those times, however, and if anyone is reluctant, I hereby volunteer for the job.
Daniel S. Hamermesh, a professor of economics at the University of Texas, is shilling for his book, “Beauty Pays,” in which he proves the unremarkable fact that being attractive is an advantage in society , and being unattractive is an impediment. He recently hit the op-ed pages of the New York Times, writing, among other things, this:
“Why this disparate treatment of looks in so many areas of life? It’s a matter of simple prejudice. Most of us, regardless of our professed attitudes, prefer as customers to buy from better-looking salespeople, as jurors to listen to better-looking attorneys, as voters to be led by better-looking politicians, as students to learn from better-looking professors. This is not a matter of evil employers’ refusing to hire the ugly: in our roles as workers, customers and potential lovers we are all responsible for these effects.”
“How could we remedy this injustice?”
Whoa! There it is, the magic words that open the door for ham-handed social architects to do what they always to do, try to remedy the results of natural human proclivities and preferences with laws. Continue reading
In the rich and annoying category of “Official Statements and Actions That Guarantee The Death Of Affirmative Action,” we have the recent warning by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that companies using criminal records to screen out job applicants might run afoul of anti-discrimination laws and be illegal because such a policy would have the effect of disproportionately disqualifying blacks and Hispanics. Continue reading