It has long been argued by economists that price pressures create incentives for employers and merchants to end discrimination. This is true because when products are being sold at the natural market rate, limiting your customers necessarily shifts demand to the left (less people competing for the same products). Free markets put incredible pressure to end discrimination, it is the government who passes “Jim Crow” laws and enforces them against the best interest of businesses.
I experienced the power of the market firsthand in college. In college I brought the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform [Warning: Graphic Link] to campus. The project was one in which the student body would be subject to pictures of aborted babies as they passed between classes. Volunteers would stand behind barriers which protected us and our signs from violent students. One girl, who had been a friend of mine, saw me standing next to these signs and started screaming at me between tears. She screamed to me about her drug baby, which she had been having while she was hooked on hardcore drugs. She screamed about how the baby was mutilated by the drugs. She screamed about the horrible life the baby would have had. She screamed about how it was horrible to show these signs to her. I calmly informed her that a human being is a human being and we do not kill people because they are deformed. Needless to say, she stormed off in a cloud of tears.
This was a woman who had previously been my friend. Now she did not so much as look at me on campus. When we would pass, her eyes would be diverted. This would all change the night one of my friends and I decided to find a new place to live.
My friend ran the numbers on our monthly housing costs in the dorms and found that we would save a significant amount of money by living off campus. We arrived at a potential apartment, when to my surprise the very same woman answered the door. A day ago, she hated me with passion and would not acknowledge my existence. But today, when I came to her apartment to potentially take over her lease, all she did was smile and speak pleasantly to me. When she answered the door, her eyes showed a look of surprise, but everything was grins after that. If I hadn’t been a customer, or if the government imposed price controls where people could be picky with whom they do business, these events would not have occurred the same way. It was the market that turned a hostile individual into a considerate acquaintance.