Home Business Coinbase - Gary Becker Was Right About Race, Gender, Discrimination

Coinbase – Gary Becker Was Right About Race, Gender, Discrimination



Gary Becker pointed out that to indulge in taste discrimination is costly. Therefore we can leave – much perhaps, even if not all – anti-discrimination to the market to sort out. After all, it was the market that undermined Jim Crow, that was exactly why it was encoded into the law so that the market couldn’t undermine it.

It would appear that Coinbase has got the message:

As for the severance package, Armstrong is offering employees keen on leaving as much as six months of severance and a potential seven year option exercise window.

If you don’t like it you can bugger off. Well, don’t like what?

Broader societal issues: We don’t engage here when issues are unrelated to our core mission, because we believe impact only comes with focus.

Or as we can put that, don’t be woke on company time and don’t expect the company to be woke. You don’t like that? Bugger off and have a lovely life while you do so.

This is not taste discrimination. However, this is:

In the last few years, big technology companies have faced growing pressure from employees to become involved in social justice issues.

As Mr. Damore found out being on the wrong side of the Woken SS is not employment enhancing. Because Silicon Valley employers are taste discriminating in favour of certain political and social stances.

What Coinbase is doing is Becker’s predicted reaction to people making such costly decisions:

This kind of employee activism is effective because there is intense competition for talent in Silicon Valley. Programmers in the Bay Area tend to lean left on issues of race and gender, and they’ve increasingly used their power to pressure their employers to do more to promote anti-racist causes.

But while Silicon Valley engineers may lean left on average, the culture is far from monolithic. Silicon Valley also has a subculture of libertarian-leaning engineers who are not enthusiastic about the Bay Area’s increasingly woke politics. James Damore, an engineer who got fired from Google for writing a controversial memo about gender diversity, has become one of the best-known examples.

Coinbase is effectively making a bid for this slice of the Silicon Valley workforce.

You can come and work here free of demands to respec’ a manager’s insistence that they are, in fact, a substantial Belgian building.

Taste discrimination – as opposed to rational, like not hiring the incapable of coding to code for you, leave that to Microsoft – is expensive because it makes it cheaper for your competitors to hire the talent you’re discriminating against. The proof being people offering to hire your talent that you’re discriminating against.

This doesn’t change just because it is the rational being currently discriminated against.



  1. Whatever sins Microsoft may have committed over the years, current mention for hiring (or outsourcing to) those who can not code should surely go to Boeing.

    Tim adds – yes, you’re almost certainly right there.

    • I would suggest unfair on the Boeing coders there. The problems at Boeing seem to stem much more from poor specification (MCAS) and poor integration (Starliner): both of these are management problems rather than issues with the people actually writing the software.


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