Yesterday’s episode caused some anger. Some of it justified, for sure.
That’s not to say that we think we’re wrong about what we said. We simply understand the frustration.
If you missed it, we discussed how socialist policies are rooted in envy rather than in the individual’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
To be honest… we find it quite strange that a letter titled “Laissez Faire Today” would receive reader pushback from the idea that socialism sucks.
Our point, if you failed to catch it, was that although the “democratic socialist’s” heart may very well be in the right place… the anger is severely misplaced.
Yep. You betcha. We’re just as angry as anyone when it comes to corporate monopolies and, yes, government greed.
Everyone… and I mean everyone… has a right to be angry. As they should be. Look around at what has happened to this country. It’s a shell of what it once stood for.
But here’s the thing…
Nothing good will come from another government “fix.” Especially if the solution is to… say… punish the rich.
Why? Because government is responsible for creating the plastic perch upon which the greedy corporate handlers build their nests. Take away the power of government in general, you take away the monopolistic fatcats that the “do-gooders” b**** about.
A monopoly, by definition, is “the exclusive possession or control of the supply or trade in a commodity or service.”
In a truly capitalistic society, one needn’t worry about businesses having complete control over supply or trade in a commodity. Because if they do, it’s for good reason.
In a truly capitalistic society, a monopolistic level of control would be impossible without massive amounts of voluntary transactions. Which is what capitalism is… the private ownership of capital and wealth, transacted voluntarily.
The problem arrives when government — local and federal — believe they have the right to make certain transactions involuntary. And allow capitalism to benefit some while holding others back.
Voluntary commerce brings diverse groups together to trade peacefully simply because all parties benefit — often in creative ways. Win-wins all around. Everyone’s happy.
Involuntary commerce creates conflict, violence, and even war because some parties do not benefit. Win-lose. Some parties get taken advantage of, often at the barrel of a gun. Nobody’s happy.
Unfortunately, the United States has become the little sh** that thinks it’s OK to run through the Skeeball lanes and drop other people’s balls into his favorite holes.
Not cool, dude.
Except we’re not talking about a game where a few points are skewed by some snot-nosed brat — we’re talking about the livelihoods of billions of people.
Rather than helping, as we can see, government monetary policy has gummed up the works. And at best, has severely overcomplicated our economic lives.
An economic system, at its core, is nothing more than a collection of wants and needs. The entrepreneur’s job is to fill those needs.
But when government meddles, it creates things we do not want and things we do not need. And most bafflingly… it often creates things that work entirely against our wants and needs.
This is done with money, we are reminded, that could be used to create things…
You guessed it…
We actually want and need.
Which was, before the government took it, already in the hands of productive, job-creating market makers.
In a capitalist society, you are rewarded for serving your fellow human beings in the way in which they want to be served. As long as it is consensual, it is OK.
In a socialist society, on the other hand, you are served in precisely the way the “public” (ahem… government) wants to serve you — and you are served long and you are served hard.
[Hear that? That’s the sound of socialist minds being blown all over America.]
But we’re not done yet!
Regulation and government meddling also blocks the poor from finding or creating their own jobs, therefore, they end up on the government dole.
(Strange how that happens, eh?)
Meddling also creates conflicts in other countries that endanger our families, then somehow “justifies” our being treated like terrorists in our own country, and restricts our freedom of speech and mobility…
All for our “protection.”
But… hold on…
Government’s here to help… right?
Take, for example, what Dr. Mary J. Ruwart, author of Healing Our World, has to say.
Today, she’s going to talk about how many potential small businesses are slaughtered in this country by ridiculous regulation.
And what’s being done to fix it.
How Small Businesses Are Destroyed (from the “Cliff Notes” version of “Healing Our World”)
NOVEMBER 10, 2015 BY MARY RUWART
The last post described how jobs, the vehicle of modern day wealth creation, were destroyed through minimum wage laws. Historically, many people chose to create their own jobs by becoming entrepreneurs. The United States was once considered “the land of opportunity” because there were few restrictions on those who wanted to start their own business.
Today, licensing laws prevent many people, especially the disadvantaged, from creating their own jobs, especially in their homes. I rented apartments to a couple of women who were supporting themselves and forced on to welfare by these laws.
One was sewing curtains in her apartment for businesses. Another watched children who lived in adjacent apartments. Neither business created extra traffic.
The city government hounded these women because they didn’t have a business license and their apartments weren’t zoned for commercial activities. They even called me and asked me to evict them, which I refused to do. When I asked them how they thought these women would get by without an income, they simply said, “They should be on welfare anyway.” Eventually, the women, terrified by the threats from the city, ended up on the dole.
The disadvantaged can’t win.
The minimum wage laws keep them from being paid to train. Licensing laws that have nothing to do with safety keep them from being entrepreneurs. Luckily, the libertarian Institute for Justice is coming to the rescue by representing small entrepreneurs pro bono when they run up against these discriminatory laws.
When a homeless man, Ronnie Forston, tried to start a shoe shine business in Atlanta, he was arrested seven times in 18 months. His crime was shining shoes without a license! The license itself was $175, and he needed a vendor’s permit and a home address to get it. Ronnie was homeless, so he didn’t have an address. In addition, the city had frozen the issuance of vendors’ permits. Consequently, Ronnie couldn’t get a permit even if he had applied! Ronnie’s plight clearly illustrates how licensing laws keep the poor from creating any wealth at all.
Minimum wage and licensing laws destroy the lower rungs on the Ladder of Affluence, condemning the disadvantaged to a lifetime of poverty. Instead of being paid while getting training and experience, the disadvantaged must pay for schooling or an expensive license. Instead of having the opportunity to work their way up the Ladder of Affluence, they are not allowed to even attempt the climb!
In the United States, 80% of millionaires acquire their wealth in a single generation. Half of them climb up the Ladder without any inheritance, college tuition from their parents, or even substantial financial assistance. The poor can aspire to affluence if they can just get a start.
If licensing laws create poverty, poor countries might be expected to have more of them. Indeed they do. As an experiment, ABC reporter John Stossel tried to open a store selling Frisbees that met all regulatory requirements.
In Hong Kong, the entire process took hours. In New York City, the multitude of form took weeks; in India, years of paperwork were required and there was no guarantee that a license would even be issued!
Consequently, countries with the most licensing laws also have the largest black markets.
Fortunately, the damage done by licensing laws (regulations) can be reversed. For example, between 1980 and 1985, the number of federal regulators in the United States decreased. More than 150 private sector jobs were created for every regulator who left (Figure 4.3 from Healing Our World).
During the period of job increases, the number of black-owned businesses nearly doubled. We can create more jobs (and wealth) for the disadvantaged by simply ending the aggression of licensing laws and regulations!
In spite of the destruction caused by the aggression of licensing laws, we sometimes hesitate to abandon them. We believe that they protect us when a mistake by a service provider, such as a doctor or electrician, can be life-threatening. In the next installment, we’ll see that aggression, as usual, harms the very people it is supposed to help.
[Ed. note: We’re still sifting through the morass that is the TPP. Don’t worry, though, we’re finding some gems we think you’ll love to hate. Stay tuned.]
Managing editor, Laissez Faire Today