A Further Discussion of Justice Pricing

Over the past few hours, I have had the opportunity to discuss justice pricing in a lot more depth with the public and journalists interested in the ideas we are putting forward. Here are some thoughts I have about the pricing model that I think are relevant to future discussions.

– A lot of people have pointed out that the pricing model we’ve adopted is not equitable. They’re right. Having said that, equity does not equal equality. In fact, achieving equality sometimes demands inequitable treatment to correct for existing disparities in rights, privileges and economic power. Our income tax code, for example, is not equitable. People who make more money are taxed more. It is, however, aimed at promoting equality.

– I do not think we’ve nailed the pricing model. Obviously there was a problem with charging white males double for their tickets. It did not represent in real terms the disparity between average incomes and purchasing power that exist. This is why we have adapted the model to lower the price for white males. Still, the price does not represent in real terms the disparity in purchasing power, it’s too high. Given the right resources, we could work on a model that took into account a lot more and was more nuanced in terms of it’s treatment of ethnicity and gender as markers of purchasing power. In the meantime, I would like to point out that our inflation of the purchasing power disparity is justifiable due to the fact that we are the only people who are adopting this model. Much like insurance pricing, the more buy-in, the cheaper it will get. If more businesses join us, we can approach a more equitable solution to the issue of inequality.

– Many readers have pointed out that price discrimination along the lines of gender and ethnicity already exist. For example, women pay considerably more for hygiene products aimed at them. Women are also often charged more for used cars and car repairs. Even haircuts are much more expensive for women, even if it’s a straightforward job taking the same amount of time.  Minorities are often more harshly punished economically. More likely to be given speeding tickets. More likely to be randomly carded in Toronto (https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2015/10/23/random-or-arbitrary-police-carding-will-stop-province-says.html). It’s also been proven that people with ethnic names are less likely to be hired (https://www.forbes.com/sites/ruchikatulshyan/2014/06/13/have-a-foreign-sounding-name-change-it-to-get-a-job/#13ce46f45316 ).

Thank you again to everyone who has engaged with this topic. Please continue to carry out respectful debate and discussion. Together we can build a better society through communication.


13 Replies to “A Further Discussion of Justice Pricing”

  1. “Much like insurance pricing, the more buy-in, the cheaper it will get. If more businesses join us, we can approach a more equitable solution to the issue of inequality.” — this is truly evil. I pray that our democratic institutions have a shred of integrity and objectivity left and this kind of ideological nonsense gets addressed under Canada’s human rights laws.

    It is wrong that some women pay more for hygiene products. It is wrong that some people get pulled over more based on skin colour. But these are not values enshrined in our laws and institutions. Punish the companies who do unfair pricing. Discipline the police officers for discriminatory practices. Don’t make the historical mistake of justifying revenge against individuals based on what members of their group historically did. An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

    What happens if the groups that make more money switch? Is there going to be a real time thing like the stock market that augments “justice pricing” from day to day?

  2. I won’t be attending your screening. This coming from a white male who has spent a considerable portion of his adult life urging, promoting, and even fighting for social justice and equality for all concerned. I’ve heard and read the purported reasoning behind your pricing and it so simply fails to stand up to reason, on so many accounts, that I for one can’t help but conflate such an immature, spiteful, and discriminatory call with what I must now presume to be a likewise lacklustre, misguided and misinformed production.
    So thanks for taking this one off my list.

  3. I believe higher income earners would be happy to pay a higher ticket price if you just asked (honour system), rather than resorting to a pricing model that discriminates based on skin colour, gender, and sexual preference in the name of “social justice”.

  4. Yes, it’s bullshit for a woman to pay more for the same haircut a man gets. The answer, to me, is to start charging by haircut; not finding new ways to charge by gender to try to balance it out. I appreciate what is being attempted and I appreciate you understand you haven’t got it exactly right, but I’d rather get a discount because I’m actually poor, not because I’m a woman and you assume I’m poor.

  5. Unlike Darren, it seems to me that your competence in guerrilla marketing and publicity stunts is well established. I would point you to the evidence that “beautiful” people earn a wage premium as an opening in another direction. (And to set the record straight price discrimination is generally designed to extract more money from the target group. For this end, framing matters, hence student and senior *discounts*, rather than premia for the rest of us. Were you not just having us on, I’d suggest you work on that angle a bit)

  6. Seems like a lot of the pushback is from people who have never experienced discrimination before, and have happily tolerated it against others. Thanks for bringing this hypocrisy to light and starting a conversation!

    1. I’m a visible minority who suffers from the additional stigmas of sexual orientation, mental health problems and a HIV diagnosis. Please read my comment below for a fair retort to this pricing scheme.

      In short, discriminating against anyone in this way is illegal and fighting discrimination with discrimination is not only immature but counter to any sort of resolution in good faith.

    2. As a mixed race woman of colour, this pricing model is sexist and racist. The fact that he is trying to disguise it as “justice pricing ” is actually harming the movement for true equality

  7. That is a straw man argument in which you are trying to justify your position by arguing something into absurdity that is only slightly related. In no way are you defending your position. Just because these situations are happening does not make them acceptable or fair.

    I’ll humour you though. This in related to a reply on your previous blog post of Sept 19 where you asked me about gender based pricing on hair cuts and ladies nights at bars.

    Ladies and men’s haircuts do not stereotype race or sexual identification, as your policy does. It’s reasonable that a woman with shorter hair could be charged a man’s haircut, and vice versa. This mode of pricing, while archaic, is more of a guideline than a hard and fast rule and depends on the perceived complexity of the haircut. Your system of pricing is an absolute and arbitrary rule rather than a guideline.

    By ladies nights, I believe your definition is related to when men’s prices for drinks and cover charges are higher at a certain event because of their gender and sexual orientation.

    Ladies nights imply that there is still a large period of time where men do pay the same prices as women for the same services. For example, venues could offer this one night of a week, which means that only 13% of the time in any given month, women have access to reduced prices. Your pricing scheme states that men should be priced differently 100% of the time.

    While this is descrimination towards men and their sexual orientation, in that goods and services should be priced regardless of gender, it is by consequence stereotyping women as feeble and afraid of being subjected to a man’s desires (e.g. when a man displays unwanted sexual advances). It’s reasonable to assume that some women do not agree with this stereotype and do not identify as this type of woman. Therefore, the gender binary is being used to normalize strict gender boundaries to the detriment of womankind.

    Ladies nights have been challenged in Austria’s legal system and were proven to be discriminatory towards men. Maybe this challenge will be made in Canada, which has similar human rights laws, if ladies nights were more pervasive. A challenge could also be made that business like Ladies California Fitness, a gym exclusively for women, could be discriminatory as well. Just because it hasn’t been challenged does not mean it is not discriminatory.

    That is not the topic of discussion at hand, though. Ultimately, neither of the situations you mentioned relate to the severity and absolute arbitrariness of your pricing scheme. Your decision to implement this kind of pricing scheme is still subject to scrutiny under human rights legislation.

    Would you would like me to proceed with the complaint today? I’m happy to start the process with the tribunal to see which definition of justice will prevail.

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