Gary Becker’s theory

Gary Becker’s theory, split labor market theory, and Marxist theory each offers a different reason for the existence of economic racial and ethnic discrimination and different ideas about who within the majority-group population gains or loses from it relative to others in the majority group. Becker’s theory occurs because of people’s attitude. In the split labor market theory , discrimination occurs because white workers benefit from it by eliminating minority competition. Finally, based on the Marxist theory discrimination occurs because capitalists benefit from the divisions it creates in the working class, which weaken the bargaining position of workers and lead black and white workers to blame each other rather than the capitalist class for their difficulties (Farley, p. 287, 288).

Becker’s discrimination takes place with people’s attitude. Becky’s theory begins with some people having conative prejudice, and if this attitude is held by employers, employees, or potential customers, the results will end up being not hiring minority group members or not hiring minorities for better jobs (Farley, p. 284). The effect of this is that the employer decides on discriminating either because of his or her own prejudice or because of the concerns of how their white employees or customers may react to this (Farley, p. 284).

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Becker’s theory indicates that eventually discrimination, in a complex industrial society should gradually disappear because it is dysfunctional both for the employer and for the overall society. This can be very true for the employer as it faces competition. Accordingly, a firm that don’t discriminate succeeds in gaining a competitive advantage over the one’s that do. This is consistent with broader view of the functionalist perspective that the economic system operates according to principles of the market that reward efficiency and rationality and penalize irrational behaviors such as discrimination (Farley, 2012). Functionalists believe for the most part if there were no discrimination, our economic system will have a productive outcome, and mostly everyone will benefit from it (Farley, p. 284). It’s also a fact that predicted reduction of discrimination has occurred only to a certain degree. Although discrimination became illegal and less common over the past fifty years, there are still both intentional and unintentional forms of discrimination occurring. As a matter of fact, employers and employment agencies are continuing to associate job openings differently with black and white applicants by telling blacks there are no job openings but telling white the opposite This type of discrimination shows why the overall amount of economic racial inequality continue to last (Farley, p. 284).

The only strength for this type of theory is that white workers would get better jobs and more pay than they would in a reasonable nondiscriminatory hiring system, which they are still negatively affected by the lower overall productivity of the system (Farley, p. 284).

The weakness from Becker’s theory begins with the dysfunctional for both the employer and the society, because it enables them from getting the employees who are best qualified for the job. This can also cause harm to the productivity or efficiency of both the employer’s enterprise and the society at large because of it’s misuse for valuable human resources. Finally, it mistreats minority workers which causes them to be unemployed, underemployed and underpaid (Farley, p. 284).


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