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The so–called "Affirmative Action" was an executive order signed by the US president J.F.Kennedy in 1961. This order decreed that from that point on, the US government would enact practices to hire with disregard as to race, religion or natural origin. Latter on sex was added to the list. As with any other ridiculous policy the US comes with, the world followed; and why not? Politically speaking it was a windfall from feminine votes. Financially speaking it was neutral since the total number of government employees would not change. Current studies indicate that thanks to this initiative, minorities have advanced substantially. So, what is not to like? Plenty!

A typical example of what's wrong can be seen in the article from the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun about personnel transfers in the Kakusho Safety Division of the Japanese Police in order to increase female percentage in the force. According to the article they are today at 7% but their 2020 target is 10%.

What is the problem with this scenario?

Women are being prioritized into a specific job by quota (as in Japan) or by being given preference in the hiring process (as in other countries).

Are we chauvinists? Are we racists? Are we fanatics? Segregationists?

Do we favor discrimination?

Of course we do! What we are is efficionists (from the word "efficiency").

We believe that in general terms, people should be given jobs based on their efficiency.

Consider this.

When we pay for a product or service we want the cheapest one with the highest quality we can afford. Manufacturers and service providers know this. They compete with each other to provide this and thus make a profit. We want the best deal we can get since it is our money. Private enterprise knows and understands this and tries to hire with this in mind; governments do not.

Companies simply cater to our demands. If we demand ruthless efficiency, they must hire with ruthless efficiency. One cannot be had without the other. But ruthless efficiency is not the end game, ruthless efficiency is the mechanism through which we increase choices and production and with it standards of living. Ruthless efficiency is good for everybody! If this would not be so for example, so–called "Ethical" mutual funds would dominate the market, yet, they are but a footnote in terms of market share. As consumers we rate efficiency the highest.

In the private sector, we get what we pay for.

Now let's take a look at the government. The government steals our money (although they call it taxation) and hires people to provide goods but mostly services that we either don't want or could be far better served by private initiatives. Regardless, it is still our money!

In other words, we want efficiency and what it is that we get for our money?

We get bureaucracy.

Bureaucracies work in an entirely different manner. To begin with, they don't have to compete. Governments have carved out monopolies by decree for bureaucrats. Since they don't compete, they don't have any incentive to increase efficiency because efficiency is driven by profits. Since they care about profits (government always tax, borrow or print more) they don't need efficiency. What's worst; even when they do increase efficiency they do so by providing goods and services we don't want!

Because they have no incentive to be efficient, they have no incentive to hire efficient people; therefore they have the tendency to hire based on all kinds of other parameters except efficiency. As such their hiring practices my exhibit preferences or biases for color, religion, creed, culture, sex, social standing, economic means and many others. In other words, the lack of an efficiency drive enables discrimination!

Private enterprises simply cannot afford to discriminate and they do not do so as long as there is a belief that they are hiring for efficiency purposes. Do companies do this? Mostly they do; however, we are the first ones to point out that companies are not perfect. They do make mistakes all the time, dumb decisions and they do practice biased hiring practices. This is inevitable since we are humans and so are they.

However, we need to consider what is the meaning of "biased hiring practices"? Take the police in Japan. The primary purpose of a police force is to keep us safe. Let's be honest here, do you feel safer or less safe with police women to protect you? Most people (man and women) would tell you it is the latter. This not a mystery, it is common sense. Guardians with higher physical abilities are better prepared for physical protection duties. It boils down to efficiency. Of course the equation changes when it comes to investigative duties, then physical abilities come in a far second place it is entirely possible that women may have the upper hand in this area.

Of course, this is not to say that some women are not proficient at being police officers. Of course they are! And we applaud them and hope they get hired and would love to see them protecting us. That is not the point. The point is that just because a police force is a government institution, there is no incentive to protect us. It may be their job, but that does not mean it is an incentive.

As there is no incentive, there is no hiring bias towards efficiency and therefore we don't get efficient police personnel. A company can only be efficient if it does not discriminate for any other reason. In–efficiency breeds discrimination.

Consider this.

Since the collapse of the Apartheid in South Africa, private companies have "discovered" black people as consumers. Before, they were "kaffirs" (or despicable blacks), now they are consumers to be catered. With this realization came the understanding that hiring black people was actually a good idea because they represented an un–tapped pool of efficiency that companies could not afford to ignore! In South Africa anti–racist laws were not what pushed forward a freer society but the immutable laws of supply and demand!

Affirmative Action or non–discrimination policies are only necessary in the presence of governments.

The most important anti–discriminatory barrier is a free market. It is precisely because we don't have free markets but instead we have governments that Affirmative Action initiatives are imposed to us. And what do we get? Even less efficiency!

Affirmative Action policies simply add yet another bias in hiring practices. The only thing they do is to provide bureaucrats with yet another reason not to hire based on efficiency. Now they need to hire based on religious beliefs, sex, color, language, etc., etc., etc. Anything but efficiency.

And so, through this road, Japanese people in Kakusho will find themselves less protected even though they pay the same amount of taxes than before. This is anti–efficiency at its best!

And so, through this road, we will find ourselves less serviced by government employees… this assuming we actually want their services!

Next time you come across more of this nonsense, remind them that in a free market there is no rampant discrimination as in the government. Remind them than in a richer society companies cannot afford to discriminate because of competition. Remind them than it is the presence of governments that enable discrimination at a massive scale. Remind them that they enable governments to do so by supporting and legitimize them through voting.

Remind them… or no. Your choice.

Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.

 

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