In a recent article from the New York Post – a new problem was brought to light. Wealthy Manhattan moms paying huge amounts of money in order to keep their kids from having the inconvenience of standing in line. For an eight hour day, $1,040 will get you through the park without having to wait in line. The catch? You have to exploit a person with disabilities to do it.
Disney of course offers a VIP guide and no lines for $310 to $380 an hour. The black market guides are much cheaper. But are they ethical?
My knee-jerk reaction to hearing this story was outrage. Understandably so. After all, how dare these Manhattan mothers skirt the system that was already in place for the wealthy upper-crust of society to avoid lines by exploiting people with disabilities?
In a capitalist economy, consumers purchase goods or services which give them the best return on investment (assuming they are indeed rational actors).
When given the choice of a more expensive option offered by Disney or an inexpensive but equally convenient option offered by a competitor – a rational actor would choose the latter.
In addition, the unemployment rate for individuals with disabilities was an incredible 12.9%. This combined with the incredibly low economic participation rate (20.7%), it would be very difficult to condemn these “black market” tour guides for creating their own business and earning a living from a service that they provide.
After all, would’t it be discrimination if a tour guide with disabilities was unable to give a tour through the park without proper accommodation as recommended by the Americans with Disabilities Act? Are outside tour guides banned from providing tours of the parks? The answer to these questions are obvious. As long as outside tour guides are permitted to be hired, there should be no ethical quandary concerning hiring a tour guide with a disability.