Amazon Should Not Cave In To Red-State-Lining
One of the most abusive business practices in American history was something called ‘redlining’. Redlining was a way of treating some Americans as second-class citizens by refusing to deal with them in certain business relations.
“In the United States, Redlining is the systematic denial of various services to residents of specific, often racially associated, neighborhoods or communities, either directly or through the selective raising of prices. While the best known examples of redlining have involved denial of financial services such as banking or insurance, other services such as health care or even supermarkets have been denied to residents. In the case of retail businesses like supermarkets, purposefully locating impractically far away from said residents results in a redlining effect.[5”
Redlining is discriminatory because it uses something irrelevant to business suitability as a criterion for doing business. For example, classic redlining involved banks or real estate brokers who would do business with poor white people, but not with identically credit-worthy black citizens. It would make sense for banks to look at income or credit history, of course, when making loans. However, race is economically irrelevant and therefore should not be a distinguishing feature in business.
Likewise for religious and political differences. A similar practice is the increasing tendency to punish states (usually ‘red’ states) with the threat of not employing their citizens due to having state-level Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (which would include protections for religious individuals to not participate in business which violate conscience, such as same-sex marriages). It ‘red-state-lines’ them by discriminating against prospective employees simply because they live in a state with policies disagreed with by management of activists (or the increasingly-intimidated-by-activists).
I recently recorded a commentary on this topic which is running on Salem radio stations:
“Amazon Corporation is looking for a site at which to build a 2nd headquarters, and they’ve narrowed the list down to 20 American cities. But a group which calls itself ‘No Gay, No Way’ is pressuring the company to knock Austin; Dallas; Nashville; Atlanta; Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis; Miami; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Washington, D.C off the list. The problem is that the red states which are less likely to embrace special protections for sexual identity also tend to be low tax.
This is not about protecting gay Amazon employees. This is about power, about using economic intimidation to punish cities and states which have not yet submitted.
But if the management knuckles under to activists and rejects cities with better business climates, it does so at the expense of owners, employees and customers.”
Corporations were brought into existence for the purpose of enhancing human productivity. Not liberal human productivity or conservative human productivity, but all human productivity. The corporation brought all sorts of different people together in order to expand the incredible power of the division of labor. Shareholders buy shares in order to participate in that. To the degree that businesses either initiate, or cave into, shrinking the pool of participants in this web of human productivity, they lose their reason for being.
Jerry Bowyer is a Forbes contributor, contributing editor of AffluentInvestor.com, and Senior Fellow in Business Economics at The Center for Cultural Leadership.
Jerry has compiled an impressive record as a leading thinker in finance and economics. He worked as an auditor and a tax consultant with Arthur Anderson, as Vice President of the Beechwood Company which is the family office associated with Federated Investors, and has consulted in various privatization efforts for Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. He founded the influential economic think tank, the Allegheny Institute, and has lectured extensively at universities, businesses and civic groups.
Jerry has been a member of three investment committees, among which is Benchmark Financial, Pittsburgh’s largest financial services firm. Jerry had been a regular commentator on Fox Business News and Fox News. He was formerly a CNBC Contributor, has guest-hosted “The Kudlow Report”, and has written for CNBC.com, National Review Online, and The Wall Street Journal, as well as many other publications. He is the author of The Bush Boom and more recently The Free Market Capitalist’s Survival Guide, published by HarperCollins. Jerry is the President of Bowyer Research.
Jerry consulted extensively with the Bush White House on matters pertaining to the recent economic crisis. He has been quoted in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, The International Herald Tribune and various local newspapers. He has been a contributing editor of National Review Online, The New York Sun and Townhall Magazine. Jerry has hosted daily radio and TV programs and was one of the founding members of WQED’s On-Q Friday Roundtable. He has guest-hosted the Bill Bennett radio program as well as radio programs in Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles.
Jerry is the former host of WorldView, a nationally syndicated Sunday-morning political talk show created on the model of Meet The Press. On WorldView, Jerry interviewed distinguished guests including the Vice President, Treasury Secretary, HUD Secretary, former Secretary of Sate Condoleezza Rice, former Presidential Advisor Carl Rove, former Attorney General Edwin Meese and publisher Steve Forbes.
Jerry has taught social ethics at Ottawa Theological Hall, public policy at Saint Vincent’s College, and guest lectured at Carnegie Mellon’s graduate Heinz School of Public Policy. In 1997 Jerry gave the commencement address at his alma mater, Robert Morris University. He was the youngest speaker in the history of the school, and the school received more requests for transcripts of Jerry’s speech than at any other time in its 120-year history.
Jerry lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, Susan, and the youngest three of their seven children.