Thomas Sowell

 Male-female differences in incomes and occupations rose or fell throughout the 20th century as women's age of marriage and childbearing rose and fell. But such mundane facts carry little weight with lawyers or social crusaders on the hunt for discrimination.

 Once a lawsuit is under way, the pressure is on the accused employer to settle, rather than risk bad publicity that could hurt profits. And, once they settle, that is taken as proof of guilt, no matter what anybody says.

 People without the slightest knowledge of economics or the slightest experience running a business will boldly assert that women are paid only 75 percent -- or some other percent -- of what men make for doing exactly the same work.

 Think about it. If an employer could hire four women for the price of hiring three men, why would he ever hire men at all?

 Even if the employer was the world's biggest sexist, he could still not survive in business if his competitors were getting one-third more output from their employees for the same money.

 Sheer dogmatic repetition has pounded into our minds the notion that all groups have similar capabilities, when in fact they do not necessarily have even the same interest in developing the same capabilities.

 Potential may be the same but developed capabilities depend on a lot more, including interest and circumstances. Yet those who start with the preconception of equal capabilities are quick to seize upon numbers showing group differences in results as proof that someone else has done something wrong. That is the grand fallacy of our time.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate