The Case for Discrimination

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The Case for Discrimination  
The Case for Discrimination 2010 cover.jpg
Author(s) Walter Block
Country United States
Subject(s) Political economy
Genre(s) Non-fiction
Publisher Ludwig von Mises Institute
Publication date 28 December 2010
Media type Print, Digital
Pages xi, 497 p.
ISBN 9781933550817
OCLC Number 784169074

The Case for Discrimination, by American economist Walter Block, and with an introduction by Lew Rockwell, is a book that both explains discrimination and encourages the government's allowing private sector actors to engage in it. It addresses subjects such as how the minimum wage laws harm racial minorities and how sexual harassment laws have failed to take into account that some women are willing to accept employment arrangements in which they are paid to allow men to make sexual advances toward them. He cites the example of those strippers whose customers use the giving of paper money to them as a pretext for getting close to them and making sexual overtures. Block points out as well that only the bisexual refrain from discriminating against one gender or the other in whom they are willing to have sex with.

Seminar on Racism and Sexism

The transcript of Block's Seminar on Racism and Sexism, given at Mises University in the summer of 2005, is included. Here, Block examines the sociobiological reasons why most Nobel prize winners, chess grandmasters, and heads of government — and also most prisoners, mental hospital inmates, and people who die at a a young age — tend to be men, arguing that individual men are relatively expendable from the standpoint of a society's reproductive capacity, and therefore evolution has tended to cause men's genes to be more likely to be of extremely high or low quality than women's. He states that men are nature's crapshoot and women are nature's insurance policy. Research has lent this theory some empirical support.[1]

Block points out that historically, wives have been more likely to move to accommodate their husbands' careers, rather than the other way around, because the wives' earning potential is often curtailed by the responsibilities of childrearing.[2] Studies tend to verify the existence of this phenomenon.[3] The expendability of men is also a reason why men are more aggressive, according to Block. If it were a society's young women, rather than its young men, who mostly served as cannon fodder, the reproductive potential of that society would be greatly affected by any high casualty rates.

Recent trends

In recent years, some of the trends Block identified have been reversing somewhat, with many men finding themselves unemployed, and therefore more likely to be in charge of child care and other household tasks, due to the ailing economy's particularly tending to harm industries such as construction and manufacturing before hitting industries such as state and local government where women have a higher percentage of jobs. Liza Mundy has noted in her book The Richer Sex that women are the new majority of breadwinners[4] and, while not addressing Block's book specifically, does challenge the notion that men do less housework as their wives earn more in order to re-establish their masculinity.[5] (Block's book quoted the research of two sociologists, which was summed up in Newsweek as "No matter how large their paycheck, the working wives were still almost entirely responsible for the couple’s housework. Husbands so hated housework, the researchers found, that wives who asked them to help out could sometimes sour the marriage."[6])


  1. Mills, Michael (26 January 2011). "How Can There Still Be a Sex Difference, Even When There Is No Sex Difference?". Psychology Today. 
  2. Block, Walter. "Seminar on Racism and Sexism". The Case for Discrimination. pp. 169-170. 
  3. Jio, Sarah (26 June 2008). "Career couples fight over who's the 'trailing spouse'". CNN. 
  4. Mundy, Liza. "The Richer Sex". 
  5. "The Richer Sex". Laura Vanderkam. 20 March 2012. 
  6. Block, Walter. "Male-Female Earnings and Equal Pay Legislation". The Case for Discrimination. pp. 170.