Economic discrimination  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e



Economic discrimination is discrimination based on economic factors. These factors can include job availability, wages, the prices and/or availability of goods and services, and the amount of capital investment funding available to minorities for business. This can include discrimination against workers, consumers, and minority-owned businesses.

It is not the same as price discrimination, the practice by which monopolists (and to a lesser extent oligopolists and monopolistic competitors) charge different buyers different prices based on their willingness to pay.


A recognition of economic discrimination began in the British Railway Clauses Consolidation Act of 1845, which prohibited a common carrier from charging one person more for carrying freight than was charged to another customer for the same service. In nineteenth-century English and American common law, discrimination was characterized as improper distinctions in economic transactions; in addition to the above issue in the British Railway Clauses, a hotelier capriciously refusing to give rooms to a particular patron would constitute economic discrimination. These early laws were designed to protect discrimination from Protestants who might discriminate against Catholics or Christians who might discriminate against Jews.

By the early twentieth century, economic discrimination was broadened to include biased or unequal terms against other companies or competing companies. The Robinson-Patman Act (1936), which prevents sellers of commodities in interstate commerce from discriminating in price between purchasers of goods of like grade and quality, was designed to prevent vertically integrated trusts from driving smaller competitors out of the market through economies of scale.

It was not until 1941, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order forbidding discrimination in employment by a company working under a government defense contract, that economic discrimination took on the overtones it has today, which is discrimination against minorities. By 1960, anti-trust laws and interstate commerce laws had effectively regulated inter-corporate discrimination so problematic in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but the problem of discrimination on an economic basis against minorities had become widespread.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Economic discrimination" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools