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History “Disprivileges” This Person’s Understanding

Here’s a note to a first-time (and very agitated) correspondent:

Mr. B__:

Unhappy with this Café Hayek post, you assert that “history DOES PROVE AGAIN AND AGAIN that free markets constantly disprivilege people of color.”

You’re mistaken. I recommend that you read the two books to which I link in that post, the first written by Robert Higgs, and the second written by Thomas Sowell. In addition, consider also this quotation from page 126 of David Freeman Hawke’s 1988 book, Everyday Life in Early America:

Peter H. Wood found little discrimination in early South Carolina. “Common hardships and the continuing shortage of hands,” he writes [in 1974], “put the different races, as well as separate sexes, upon a more equal footing than they would see in subsequent generations.” Many scholars now conclude that discrimination set in only during the last quarter of the century when a “series of court decisions and statutes began closing the gates of freedom along racial lines,” changes that finally became codified in Virginia’s slave code of 1705.

Actually exploring the historical record greatly improves one’s grasp of reality and reveals that invidious discrimination is typically fueled – rather than diminished – by state interventions.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030