Entire Human Resource departments are dedicated to dealing with women (and minorities) and their ongoing special needs and complaints in the private economy. In the high-tech industry, especially, nothing is as politically precious as a woman. There is no end to which a company will go to mentor a woman and help her succeed. But such things as “sucking it up” and soldiering on are often anathema to deluded distaff. (This generally means that “guys will do double duty.”) Heather Mac Donald, fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor at “City Journal,” chronicles the manner in which one female repaid her professional benefactors. The tale of the litigious and troublesome Ellen Pao is hardly untypical:
A San Francisco jury late last week rejected a $16 million gender-discrimination lawsuit against a Silicon Valley venture-capital firm. This triumph of common sense, though, represents merely a minor setback in the feminist crusade against America’s most vibrant economic sector. The chance that Silicon Valley can preserve its ruthlessly meritocratic culture under a continuing feminist onslaught is slim.
In 2005 plaintiff Ellen Pao got an MBA’s dream job: technical chief of staff to John Doerr, a renowned senior partner with the venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Kleiner Perkins was a pioneer in high-tech entrepreneurship, making lucrative early investments in Google and Amazon, among other giants of the Internet age. Mr. Doerr mentored Ms. Pao, treating her, as Ms. Pao put it in an email to him, as a “surrogate daughter.”
He recommended her for a prestigious fellowship at the Aspen Institute and advised Ms. Pao about her performance at Kleiner Perkins. But after she was promoted into the direct-investing track, her reviews from other senior partners worsened. She was difficult to work with, they said, and wasn’t succeeding as a junior partner. By 2011, Mr. Doerr was the only senior partner who believed that she should stay on at the firm. …
The author, Ms. Mac Donald, does paint with too broad a brush when she mouths the mantra all conservatives are wont to mouth: “the market is the best antidote to discrimination. It rewards talent and penalizes prejudice.”
That’s a half-truth. The whole truth is that the market will reflect a bias toward productivity, explained in “Apartheid South Africa: Reality Vs. Libertarian Fantasy,” which in turn excerpts this from Into The Cannibal’s Pot:
THOSE HALF-TRUTHS AGAIN
“Free market economists (the only kind worth consulting) have long since insisted that the rational, self-interest of individuals in private enterprise is always not to discriminate. Arguably, however, the good economists, while certainly not wholesale liars as are their Keynesian counterparts, are still offering up a half-truth. Rational self-interest does indeed propel people, however prejudiced, to set aside bias and put their scarce resources to the best use. But to state simply that ‘discrimination is bad for business’ is to present an incomplete picture of reality. This solecism stems from the taint the word ‘discriminate’ has acquired. The market, by which we mean the trillions of capitalist acts between consenting adults, is discriminating as in discerning—it is biased toward productivity. Hiring people on the basis of criteria other than productivity hurts the proprietor’s pocket.” (P. 127.)
“Thus, we can be fairly certain that, absent racist affirmative-action laws, the market would reflect a bias toward productivity.
In other words, what the good economists are loath to let on is that a free market is a market in which groups and individuals are differently represented. Parity in prosperity and performance between differently able individuals and groups can be achieved only by playing socialist leveler.” (P. 128.)