Monday, December 27, 2010

Big Business vs. Free Market Capitalism

In the spirit of Christmas*, I find a point of agreement with those in Left Blogistan...

I don't believe in squishy compromise just so my friends on the left and I can feel all warm and happy inside.  That's the problem I have with mushy middler moderates like David Frum.  Clarity over agreement, as Dennis Prager would say.

I do enjoy finding issues where we could probably agree, if only we would all drop our preconceived notions.  In the spirit of Christmas, I'd like to recommend Veroniqe de Rugy's excellent piece that bashes big business.

She explains why big business hates free market competition.
Think about it. Competition is good for consumers becauseit keeps prices low while increasing the quality and choices ofproducts and services. Yet competition is hard work forbusinesses. They have to fight for customers by innovating andevolving in ways that consumers demand.

This also explains the multi-billion dollar big business lobbying industry that keeps the DC beast so fat...
To avoid the gritty work of fighting it out in a freemarket, organized private interests [...] lobby the government for specialregulations, preferential tax treatment and laws that keep outcompetition. They lobby lawmakers to constrain the same freemarkets in which they originally achieved success.
Our government has spoiled big business rotten, with tax breaks, subsidies, and special exemptions, all at taxpayer expense.  It protects the "fearless capitalists" in such industries as sugar and ethanol and automobile manufacturing.  Any company that doesn't like some law can buy it's way out.

I sat one day long ago in the house of a Supreme Court Justice of a Latin American nation.  "We pass our bribes under the table," he freely offered.  "You guys in the United States conduct bribery via legislation."  

We can argue about the amount or regulations, but they need to apply equally to all.

* - We're still in Christmastime.  The 12 Days of Christmas are those between Christmas day and The Epiphany.

Veronique de Rugy


WomanHonorThyself said...

They will regulate till all our freedoms are slowly eroded Silver..btw....we are knee deep in snow..literally!..ha

Leticia said...

Regulation means one thing...control. And we are slowly losing that battle.

Jersey McJones said...


"Our freedoms?" What "freedoms" are you talking about? The 'freedom' to be poisoned, ripped off, defrauded? What kind of libertarian nightmare do you want? Somalia?

This is a great and important point made here by Silver: Regulations - whichever particular ones you like or don't - have to be applied fairly and universally. I would only add that the same thing should be for interstate and international trade, public physical and institutional infrastructural investment, and common criminal and civil law.


Jersey McJones said...

"Regulation," in this case, simply means LAW. We are a nation of laws. You do get that, right?

These laws mostly express the simple constituional premise that "your rights end at my nose." If you poison me, if you rob me, if you cheat me, if you abuse me, you are subject to legal sanction. "Regulations," which in this case mean regulation of commercial and industrial activity, are designed to protect the preserve the welfare of the people.

If you really believe that any "regulation" whatsoever is de facto complete Totalitarian Communism, then I suggest you go live in the woods with the animals, because their system best fits you.


Bastiatarian said...

>The 'freedom' to be poisoned, ripped off, defrauded?

That's an absolutely bizarre leap of illogic. Only a tiny portion of government regulations actually protect the rights of the individual from such things. Such things as you have mentioned are violations of freewill exchange (not delivering what is contracted in the exchange agreement), and should be limited to the judicial system/law enforcement.

And, yes, I should have the freedom do be poisoned, ripped off, or defrauded if I so choose.

Legitimate regulation:
Individuals and organizations are prohibited from stealing my property (including through fraud), physically enslaving me, or directly harming my physical health. You know. Kind of like the way the Founding Fathers set things up.

Illegitimate regulation:
Everything else. Or in other words, just about everything that the federal government does.

A free society has very, very few laws, and such laws are limited, very, very strictly, to the protection of the right to our own life, liberty, and property from violation by others. No other law has any moral ground whatsoever.

Basically, it sounds to me like you don't want the grown-up responsibility of liberty. That's fine. Your choice. Your consequences. Just stop trying to enslave others.

Jersey McJones said...

Bastiat, ALL regulation is designed to prevent, remediate, or punish the poisoning, robbing, defrauding - and for that matter, the injuring, raping, imprisoning, murdering, endangering, threatening, terrorizing, kidnapping, and on and on - of the people. That's the whole friggin' point!

Now, why don't you guys pony up by listing some regulations you don't like? I'd love to see them. This conservative argument always falls flat on its face when you call it to task.


Bastiatarian said...

>ALL regulation is designed to prevent, blah, blah, blah

Are you really that naive? You must be a statist through and through. What have politicians and bureaucrats done that makes you trust them so blindly?

>some regulations you don't like

I don't have a lot of time to waste on you (since it's clear that you're not interested in the truth anyway), I'll just give you one that is basically representative of the whole: Regulations that prohibit employers from discriminating in hiring.

For example, prohibition of discrimination based on perceived race (a pseudo-scientific concept to begin with), sex, religion, shoe size, the phase of the moon, the flavor of chicken wings, or anything else is a clear and direct violation of the right of the employer to his property. The company belongs solely to the owner(s), and can be used as the owner sees fit, as long as it does not violate the true rights of others.

Rejecting a potential employee due to any of those reasons--or just because, for that matter--does not violate any right of the potential employee. It does not steal his property. It does not physically enslave him. It does not harm him physically. It may be stupid or immoral for the employer to do so, but he is inherently free to be stupid or immoral, as long as it does not violate any of those rights.

Finally, I'll give a few quotes from Bastiat. (Again, I wouldn't have to waste my time explaining elementary concepts to you if you would take the initiative to read Bastiat yourself.)

"Legal plunder can be committed in an infinite number of ways; hence, there are an infinite number of plans for organizing it: tariffs, protection, bonuses, subsidies, incentives, the progressive income tax, free education, the right to employment, the right to profit, the right to wages, the right to relief, the right to the tools of production, interest free credit, etc., etc."

"But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them and gives it to the other persons to whom it doesn't belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime."

"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it."

That final quote describes the current federal government, with its oppressive, illegitimate regulation and taxation, that started to develop before FDR, but which was highly accelerated during his reign, and has continued to get worse, perpetuated by totalitarian collectivists and statists in both major parties.

Silverfiddle said...

Well stated, Bastiatarian.

So Jersey, you must agree with Justice Kagan that it would be legal for government to make us eat our veggies.

I second what B says. With a few simple laws dealing with harm you can go after those who poison others with their products. We don't need billion dollar bureaucracies to do this. I eat a can of peas produced by Jersey's Veggie co and get botulism, I save the evidence and sue you.

Perhaps the only role for the government other than providing a judge and courtroom, would be to alert others who have bought your product to be on the lookout.

These actions will deter the responsible businessperson from taking irresponsible shortcuts. Going bankrupt is not a cheery prospect.

I wrote a short piece on the rule of law. You can find it Here

Jersey McJones said...

You guys are serious?

Bastiat here says we shouldn't have equal opportunity employment. Somehow that bothers him.

It doesn't occur to him that if one does business in the PUBLIC ARENA and enjoys the PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURE with THE PUBLIC who give them THEIR money, then one must obide the PUBLIC'S WISHES in order to do that business.

Get it YET???


Silverfiddle said...

Yeah, Jersey, we get it. You a good little sheeple who believes the state owns everything.

So if you own a nice little liberal restaurant and the government ends up populated with hard rightwingers, you will be forced to put up with armed righwingers loudly exhorting everyone in your establishment to repent and be saved, because the government says open carry is ok and they are only engaging in free speech.

It's OK because the government says so and your restaurant is a "public accomodation."

Silverfiddle said...

Congratulations Jersey, your "public infrastructure" argument justifies government intervention into any structure connected to any public utility.

I am absolutely not calling you a fascist, but this is the arguments fascists make, and when good citizens like you actually start making such argument for the government, we are in a scary place.

Jersey McJones said...

Silver, (exhausted) all I'm saying is that if you want to do business in the public sphere, on a public road, with public police and firemen, and publically educated workers and consumers, and public lights and street cleaning and snow plowing and all that, then don't be a huge flaring *&^%$#@!.


Bastiatarian said...

>we shouldn't have equal opportunity employment. Somehow that bothers him

Ah, another straw man. Yawn.

I believe that employers should make their hiring decisions based on nothing more nor less than the qualifications and perceived potential of the candidate. As I already mentioned, it is stupid and immoral to do otherwise. Racists (and racialists, if you know the difference) are, for lack of a more accurate term, morons. But, they have the right to be morons if their moronic actions do not violate my right to my life, my liberty, or my property.

Hiring decisions based on race or sex, for example, have never, do not now, and never will violate the legitimate rights of that potential employee. What gives you the right to say what I can do with my property? No individual has the right to tell me what I can do with my property. If no individual can have that right, then no group of individuals can have that right. Therefore, no government can have that right, regardless of how stupid or immoral my decisions are.

Legitimate, rational law is NOT about good or bad, right or wrong, moral or immoral. The only thing that legitimate law can address is the protection of the only rights that actually exist: life, liberty, and property. (There are no other rights. Something that requires another person to be forced to provide goods or services IS NOT A RIGHT. It's theft.) It is 100% up to the individual to be good or bad, right or wrong, moral or immoral within the bounds set by the rights of others to their own life, liberty, and property.

>publically educated workers and consumers


>public lights and street cleaning and snow plowing and all that

No thanks. I'll pay for what I want and what I need. And I won't force others to pay for it if they don't want it, since I firmly oppose slavery and theft.

Like I said, if liberty is too difficult or too scary for you, then go ahead and find somebody that is willing to take care of you, but stop trying to enslave others.

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