The Free Market Doesn’t Need Government Regulation

Bureaucrats regulate by threat of physical force while the market operates peacefully through millions of cooperating participants.

(Page 2 of 2)

But not everyone knows what we mean. Someone unfamiliar with the natural regularities of free markets can find the idea of an unregulated economy terrifying. So it behooves market advocates to be capable of articulately explaining the concept of spontaneous market order—that is, order (to use Adam Ferguson’s felicitous phrase) that is the product of human action but not human design. This is counterintuitive, so it takes some patience to explain it.

Ends and Means

Order grows from market forces. But where do market forces come from? They are the result of human action. Individuals select ends and act to achieve them by adopting suitable means. Since means are scarce and ends are abundant, individuals economize in order to accomplish more rather than less. And they always seek to exchange lower values for higher values (as they see them) and never the other way around. In a world of scarcity, tradeoffs are unavoidable, so one aims to trade up rather than down. (One’s trading partner does the same.) The result of this, along with other features of human action, and the world at large is what we call market forces. But really, it is just men and women acting rationally in the world.

The natural social order greatly concerned Frédéric Bastiat, the nineteenth-century French liberal economist. In Economic Harmonies he analyzed that order, but did not feel he needed to prove its existence—he needed only to point it out. “Habit has so familiarized us with these phenomena that we never notice them until, so to speak, something sharply discordant and abnormal about them forces them to our attention,” he wrote.

. . . So ingenious, so powerful, then, is the social mechanism that every man, even the humblest, obtains in one day more satisfactions than he could produce for himself in several centuries. . . . We should be shutting our eyes to the facts if we refused to recognize that society cannot present such complicated combinations in which civil and criminal law play so little part without being subject to a prodigiously ingenious mechanism. This mechanism is the object of study of political economy. . . .

In truth, could all this have happened, could such extraordinary phenomena have occurred, unless there were in society a natural and wise order that operates without our knowledge?

This is the same lesson taught by FEE’s founder, Leonard Read, in I, Pencil.

Most people value order. Chaos is inimical to human flourishing. Thus those who fail to grasp that, as Bastiat’s contemporary Proudhon put it, liberty is the mother not the daughter of order will be tempted to favor state-imposed order. How ironic, since the state is the greatest creator of disorder of all.

Those of us who understand Bastiat’s teachings realize how urgent it is that others understand them, too.

This article originally appeared at The Freeman.

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  • Fluffy||

    In addition to considering this article, let's take a few moments this morning to talk about Jessica Ennis' abs.

    WTF, dude? Wow.

    http://i.i.com.com/cnwk.1d/i/t.....20x350.jpg

  • Xenocles||

    I'd probably hit that... but I'm sure she'd hit back.

  • ||

    Yuck. Women need * some * body fat to be sexy.

  • Landyn||

    You mean Jessica Pennis? That's a man..

  • wareagle||

    it must be Sunday...gotta preach to the choir a bit. Seriously, is there an expectation that a flood of dissent will follow?

  • ||

    Articles like this are probably designed to convert visitors.

    Unfortunately, most of them probably respond to the article like this: "REASON HATES THE CHILDERN."

  • ||

    Heaven forbid we actually talk about basic principles of freedom once in a while.

    After all, the current state of the country proves that those lessons have all been learned and no longer need to be repeated.

  • ||

    I found the thing about the New Deal wild horse statue interesting.

    When I get my robot army and over throw the government to impose my free market tyranny I can now make sure to grind it to dust.

    Without the article I might have missed it.

    One thing about the statue is that a man is trying to use his strength to control the wild horse rather then his mind...the artist might not have intended it but the art would seem to indicate the futility of the actions the man is attempting.

    Man cannot control a wild horse using brute strength any more then a man can control trade.

  • ||

    Unemployment continues to hover perilously close to double digits, small businesses cannot meet bankers’ terms to borrow money, and taxes on the middle class remain relatively high.

    In the early 80's interest rates were at double digits and middle class income taxes were higher then they are now.

    The Keynesian economics mixed with militarism in this article is truly frightening.

  • ||

    Crap...this was meant to be posted under fate's post below.

  • Fate||

    Completely OT - can't seem to figure Google atm, so please cut paste in google -

    full spectrum operations in the homeland a vision of the future

  • Fate||

    Figure *links* that is

  • ||

  • Fate||

    Thanks Charles

  • Randian||

    It's a scenario. A particularly tone-deaf and ham-handed scenario, but the operations piece is what matters. They could have just as easily said "A radical group has taken over...now what?"

  • R C Dean||

    Now what? Before or after they pass a government takeover of the government, run up the debt, waste billions on radical cronies, execute Americans without trial, and implement law via executive fiat?

  • ||

    The scenario is about the take over of town in south Carolina by the "tea party" not the entire federal government.

  • ||

    In this paper, we posit a scenario in which a group of political reactionaries take over a strategically positioned town and have the tacit support of not only local law enforcement but also state government officials, right up to the governor. Under present law, which initially stemmed from bad feelings about Reconstruction, the military’s domestic role is highly circumscribed.

    They don't talk about how political progressives have done this in almost every major city in America.

    Or how the above scenario might be a good thing, not requiring illegal domestic military operations.

  • ||

    The Great Recession of the early twenty-first century lasts far longer than anyone anticipated. After a change in control of the White House and Congress in 2012, the governing party cuts off all funding that had been dedicated to boosting the economy or toward relief. The United States economy has flatlined, much like Japan’s in the 1990s, for the better part of a decade.

    So in other words the US cuts spending, which is the exact opposite of what japan did, and gets the same result.

    Brilliant!!!

  • Faithkills||

    US deficit has skyrocketed. No spending has been cut. The results are the same as Japan, because the 'remedy' was the same as Japan.

    Also it bears noting, even if your confused assertion were true, if you have to have a recession, better not to have debt on top.

    But never fear. Like Japan we have an enduring downturn AND debt. Bravo Lord Maynard, it's a trifecta of failure.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of these organizers are always good? Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also belong to the human race? Or do they believe that they themselves are made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind? The organizers maintain that society, when left undirected, rushes headlong to its inevitable destruction because the instincts of the people are so perverse. The legislators claim to stop this suicidal course and to give it a saner direction. Apparently, then, the legislators and the organizers have received from Heaven an intelligence and virtue that place them beyond and above mankind; if so, let them show their titles to this superiority. - Bastiat

  • Xenocles||

    Haven't you ever heard of Top Men?

  • Suki||

    "Top Men" would be a good movie title.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Whoever this Bastiat person is, I'm sure he didn't edit the Harvard Law Review, meaning his opinion is worthless.

    Credentials! Fuck yeah!

  • Ken Shultz||

    Economically speaking, people cannot do whatever they want—and get away with it—in a freed market because other people are free to counteract them and it’s in their interest to do so.

    I think we're missing an important ingredient there.

    When a lot of people hear us use the term "free market", they think we're saying there shouldn't be any protections against things like fraud or breach of contract.

    A lot of people have come to think that in a free market, individuals have no recourse if someone in the market cheats them. But protecting people from fraud and breach of contract is the legitimate role of government in regulating markets.

    But where do market forces come from? They are the result of human action.

    Market forces are people making choices. We cannot regulate market forces without infringing on the individual's right to make his or her own choices--because market forces are people making choices.

    ...unless by "regulating the market", that is, we mean protecting the individual's right to make his or her own choice from things like breach of contract and fraud.

  • wareagle||

    When a lot of people hear us use the term "free market", they think we're saying there shouldn't be any protections against things like fraud or breach of contract.

    this goes back to my earlier point about articles like this amounting to preaching to the choir. No one who regularly comes here needs to be told that free markets mean no protection against crooks.

    Those who need to read this sort of thing have long since given up any pretense of independent thought and the ability to formulate intelligent conclusions. Liberalism counts on folks like that for its power base. Conservatives are occasionally capable of calling bullshit on the Repubs, but the left only gets mad at Dems when they are not left enough.

  • Ken Shultz||

    this goes back to my earlier point about articles like this amounting to preaching to the choir.

    The lurkers here are legion.

    Here's Gillespie from five years ago, saying that Reason got more than 3 million hits a month. I'm sure it's bigger now than it was then.

    That's one of the reasons I think it's important to try to be nice to people who come here and really don't understand what we're about.

    Sometimes the people who wander in are like Tony. They're people who learn nothing from their interactions with us and keep the same assumptions about us--day after day, year after year--long after we've blown them up.

    But there are a lot of people, thousands and thousands, I think, who come here and never interact with us at all. They just read the stuff that's written here to get a sense of us or our take on something they're interested in. And it seems to me like the primary purpose of the magazine and the site is spread the libertarian gospel to such people...

    That means repeatedly stating obvious things like that when libertarians advocate free markets, it doesn't mean no protection against crooks.

    I bet half the American people out there really don't know that about libertarians.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Here's Gillespie from five years ago, saying that Reason got more than 3 million hits a month. I'm sure it's bigger now than it was then."

    Now with bacon!

    http://reason.com/blog/2007/08.....ssful-surg

  • wareagle||

    are the lurkers here out of genuine curiosity or just hear to pee in the Corn Flakes? A lot of people who give the impression of being intelligent see libertarians as the free drugs crowd and nothing else; it never dawns on that you don't have to partake in order to believe that it's not the govt's business if others do.

    Maybe you're right; your version is more optimistic than mine. But I see half the electorate ready to leave the keys in the hands of the most dangerous driver to ever sit behind the Oval wheel. And it's not that Romney is some great answer; it's that re-elections are referenda on the incumbent. Stupid is tough to fix.

  • Ken Shultz||

    None of us were born knowing this stuff. Most of us didn't learn this stuff from our parents.

    Think of spreading libertarian ideas as being a bit like spreading Christianity. When they were preaching the same ideas over and over again (God loves you so much he sent his son to die for you; your sins are already paid for; turn the other cheek), they grew like wildfire and took over the empire.

    We need to be bigger than we are if we're going to have a bigger influence on public policy, and that means getting more people who haven't heard the libertarian gospel clear on the basics. To my eye, that's what Reason, Reason TV, and this blog are all about.

    Gillespie and Bailey and KMW and Sullum and Welch and Cavanaugh and all the rest are basically apostles, and every time they go on TV or radio or write something that gets linked somewhere, it brings people to the site--to the tune of millions a month. A lot of those people are people who've never heard anything about libertarians before--except that we're anarchists or racists or...

    Most of those people aren't the enemy--they're the battlefield. And most of them never post a comment. They just read what we write and form their opinion and go away. I became a libertarian before there was an internet, but I didn't always know everything I know now. I'd have made it to where I am a whole lot sooner if there had been website like this that hit me with the basics over and over again.

  • Entropy Void||

    My favorite apostle is Drew Carey.

    BTW- Which one is Judas?

  • Randian||

    Weigel.

  • The Bearded Hobbit||

    Weigle.

    ... Hobbit

  • Entropy Void||

    Apparently there is already a consensus ...

  • KPres||

    "Here's Gillespie from five years ago, saying that Reason got more than 3 million hits a month. I'm sure it's bigger now than it was then.

    That's one of the reasons I think it's important to try to be nice to people who come here and really don't understand what we're about."

    I'd say the opposite is the case. If there really are a legion of lurkers, then you absolutely CAN'T be charitable to the trolls. It implies that their ideas have merit. And it's not the trolls that matter, anyway. Better to crush them, so the lurkers can see you do it.

  • Ken Shultz||

    The lurkers hold many of the same positions as the trolls. They're just not as obnoxious as the trolls.

    I suppose it's like this in advertising. It's probably hard to do, but maybe the trick is to belittle your competitors without belittling the customers you want--who are using your competitor's product.

    In our case, though, the competition is pretty clear. It's awful politicians like Liz Warren and Barack Obama, and the people who knowingly and purposefully support them in watering down our rights and our freedom.

    There are some people out there who have been lulled into their cult and who aren't the enemy, exactly. They just need to be deprogrammed and learn to think for themselves. Some of those people need to be shocked out of their trance. I'll concede that there isn't a one size fits all solution.

    But most of us regulars don't need to be convinced to squash the trolls; but some of us could probably learn to work a little harder to be nicer to some people who don't necessarily agree with us yet. And try to remember that most of the people who come to the site never post a comment.

    If you're running a restaurant, the customers you're worried about aren't the ones who complain; the ones you worry about are the customers who are unhappy with the service but never say a word. They just walk out the door, never come back, and tell all their friends what a crummy restaurant you have.

  • KPres||

    Unfortunately for me, I have a genuine hatred of socialism that I have no intention of hiding, nor do I have any intention of being nice to these people. It's the most abysmal, life-denying, dispiriting, envy-driven, tribalist, hate-filled philosophy I've ever come across, and it needs to be eradicated from the planet.

    I'm not really fond of the theocrats, either, but I get the feeling they're at least trying to live life fully, they're just ignorant, which leads them to sometimes awful conclusions. And with the technocrats it's purely an intellectual disagreement, which could probably be resolved, except that socialists and partisans so often pose as technocrats (see Tony).

  • wareagle||

    socialists and theocrats can be equally annoying though there is one glaring difference: the socialists are willing to use the full power of the state to force you to adopt their belief system. The theocrats will use the power of the state on certain things - abortion, gay marriage - but they grasp that the same govt force that can benefit them can also hurt them.

  • ||

    Unfortunately for me, I have a genuine hatred of socialism that I have no intention of hiding, nor do I have any intention of being nice to these people.

    I hate it too, however, I gotta come down on Ken's side on this. More flies with honey.

    I troll at CNN and FOX (before FOX eliminated their comment boards). I do my best to be non-confrontational and argue with facts, reason and without emotion.

    And here's the thing. If you can find a blog that isn't real popular, with just a few responses a minute so you can actually debate, every once in a while you can, if not drag one to your side, at least stop and make them think. I've done it on multiple occasions. So, it's only one, but how many others read the exchange?

    If you get in their face, you lose them immediately.

    That said, Ken, here among friends, I'm still going to use the word "cunt" if I so desire. ;-)

  • toddb||

    Ken, I agree with you here. I don't quite consider myself a lurker...I post infrequently, but have for years. I come here to remind myself that there are others who think like me (since I seldom seem to run into people who do in real life). I understand that it's funny to reply with a "fuck off, slaver" when it's a response to a house troll making the same inane boilerplate statement for the tenth time that day. But, too often, that kind of throw-off line is directed at someone that appears to be here to engage in a legitimate conversation. That's a lost opportunity.

    Hearts and minds...

  • robc||

    As the person considered most responsible for that line*, I dont think I have ever used in response to someones first post in a thread. And I dont use it in response to the legion of trolls as I mostly have them incifed/reasonabled away.

    Its only after the legitimate conversation options have died that it gets broken out.

    *although P Brooks was the first to use it in that exact form

  • TomB||

    When a lot of people hear us use the term "free market", they think we're saying there shouldn't be any protections against things like fraud or breach of contract.

    A lot of people have come to think that in a free market, individuals have no recourse if someone in the market cheats them

    You're absolutely right, Ken. Lately I'm starting to think that many of these arguments are about fundamental misunderstandings over terminology. The more explicitly and plainly we can make our case (as you just did), the more people we should able to convince.

  • KPres||

    It's also important not to focus on market forces, which can be ambiguous, or consumer sovereignty, which implies that each person is on their own. Markets generate regulatory bodies that can act just like government agencies only more efficiently.

    I work for an industry that's almost entirely regulated by a 3rd-party private certification company. Recently, a lot of clients have been unsatisfied with this agency's quality and cost (it's essentially been a monopoly for years, but they didn't really take advantage of it until recently, when they doubled their prices), so a new agency has emerged and is gaining acceptance. The first agency responded by creating a new certification program that's more cost effective. There's so much free-market goodness in all this (free association, competition, the impossibility of persistent monopoly abuse).

    Sheldon has a point. Libertarians should specify their opposition to government regulations, not regulation in general.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Good point, and one that has, in fact, been reinforced here, among other places.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Markets generate regulatory bodies that can act just like government agencies only more efficiently."

    Hell, market participants regulate themselves through contracts.

    Contracts let individuals write their own laws to govern themselves and those laws are legally binding.

    "It's also important not to focus on market forces, which can be ambiguous..."

    Market forces may have become ambiguous in the popular imagination, but there's nothing ambiguous about them.

    Market forces are people making choices.

    Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. If the term's ambiguous to people, then let's just be explicit. When I'm talking about market forces, I'm talking about you and your right to make your own choice.

  • Randian||

    Yes, I believe it is time to make explicit the fact that when say, Burger King promulgates a manual that dictates how the Whopper is to be made and all of the standards commensurate with that process, that is an internal governing matter and does not mean the same thing as "regulation" when it is used.

  • KPres||

    Yeah, all of this has been said a thousand times. I'm mostly making a point about libertarian rhetoric. You have to switch it up from time to time because, with all the canned responses out there, people's minds get lazy. Not to mention words are like fashion, they go in and out of style.

    A lot of people think saying "market forces" implies reliance on some ghostly, god-like being, and will dismiss you off-hand as superstitious nonsense. Nevermind that market-forces are no less of a natural, material concept than is "natural selection", the opposition will use any rhetorical device they can.

    Another thing that bothers me, along the same lines of the above, is the use of the word "teachings", as in..."Those of us who understand Bastiat’s teachings realize how urgent it is that others understand them, too." Really? That makes him Bastiat sound like some wacko Indian guru from the 60s. It's embarrassing. Use something like "Bastiat's approach" or "Bastiat's logic". Or better yet, just state it as a fact, which doesn't imply that it's just some old idea that belongs to one particular historical figure.

  • Randian||

    For someone who has the kind of resume Richman does, he seems to phone it in around here.

  • lighthouse||

    KPres, re rhetoric, agreeing also re your point about being specific about market regulation

    When talking about products,
    specifically one can say to regulations not concerned with usage safety.

    Timely example is all the current regulation on consumer products based on energy use
    (buildings, cars, light bulbs etc)

    Government justifies regulation on basis of "market failure", which really means consumers don't buy what they "should".
    But energy standards compromise other product features consumers may like.
    Besides, for many reasons, overall savings end up small, and alternative policies are better, as from links below.

  • ||

    But, don't you know that Libertarians: The Ruling Elite's Puppets

  • KPres||

    This narrative is so flawed. If the rich elite already control the government, why do they care about making more money? Economic power is incredibly weak compared to the military power the government controls. Once you've captured the latter, there's no need for the former.

  • ||

    Yeah. It's almost as if they lifted it from the comment sections of progressive web sites and are trying to present it as logical argument.

  • KPres||

    The more realistic class-based narrative is one where the wealthy elite are up against the intellectual elite for control of the common man. One wants to control you body, the other your mind. I often wonder why its lost on leftists that academic institution is nothing but the progression of the religious institution, and why they don't apply their class logic to it the same way they do the church?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Because it's their religious institutions.

  • Suki||

    Similarly I wonder why the intellectual elite continually support and promote a system that has a history of murdering the intellectual elite when they gain control of police power.

  • ||

    Look who's still slavishly reading our comments!

    http://www.youtube.com/comment.....G-ro5jzfts

  • Suki||

    First 10 min. or so is a strange look at oil markets. The premise "They (Saudis/Arab "monopolies") charged over $100/barrel" not the exact words, supposes that one seller put a price tag on the oil and everybody paid it, then other sellers increased their price to the "monopolist" price.

    I thought those markets worked by buyers bidding on the oil and the price ending up at whatever the highest bidder offered? Their use of "monopoly" is really weird too.

  • Randian||

    I understand what the article is trying to say, but it suffers from conflation and a lack of nuance.

    Regulations are, in the common vernacular, administrative rules that originate from a legislative body. Market forces serving to make something regular are not the same thing as regulation, as most people understand the term.

    So this sentence:

    What’s overlooked—intentionally or not—is that the alternative to a government-regulated economy is not an unregulated one. As a matter of fact, “unregulated economy,” like square circle, is a contradiction in terms.

    does not make much sense. The fact that a market makes things regular or controls behavior does not mean that it is a "regulated market" or a "regulated economy". That would be akin to saying that I am subject to regulation because I cannot jump off of a 40-story building and survive. The laws of physics, like the laws of supply and demand, are not properly called "regulation".

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Yeah,

    The sentence works better as:

    What’s overlooked—intentionally or not—is that the alternative to a government-regulated economy is not dysfunctional chaos.

    A freed market will by necessity develop internal structures producing predictable results. which is the same end that government regulation promises and frequently fails to deliver.

    The difference is that market structures are the result of voluntary interaction which makes them inherently self correcting. While regulations are exogenous to markets and therefor simultaneously rigid and subject to manipulation by specific actors.

    It's a major mistake to equate the two, which Richman does in this article.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Randian,

    The fact that a market makes things regular or controls behavior does not mean that it is a "regulated market" or a "regulated economy"[...] The laws of physics, like the laws of supply and demand, are not properly called "regulation".


    Particles do not act with a purpose. You as many others keep forgetting that. What REGULATES the market is human self-interest. People will not do business with other people they find non-agreeable in their behavior, either personal or business. This is why only ugly and impolite people populated the DMV. People's CHOICES provide the path to follow for entrepreneurs and businesses - that is, they REGULATE them.

  • Randian||

    You are just repeating the same conflation Richman did. Saying the same thing in a different way is not convincing.

    Saying that the market is "self-regulating" is to say what VG said above: "A freed market will by necessity develop internal structures producing predictable results."

    Having an internal structure and rules that people must follow does not, however, make the market "regulated" in the common vernacular. For example: a family has a rule that the dishes must be done before the television can be turned on. Is that properly called a "regulation"? No, not really.

  • robc||

    Rules of sports are sometimes called regulations, and that is the exact same thing as the wash dishes rule.

    So "regulation" is commonly used in both ways.

  • robc||

    For example: FIFA has "laws" for the game of soccer, but "regulations" for its tournaments.

  • robc||

    Same kind of thing for NCAA. They have rules and regulations.

  • robc||

    The point being, common people are used to private entities creating "regulations".

  • robc||

    And finally, with a non-sports example that more applies to markets: The Kosher certification people refer to their requirements as "regulations".

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Randian,

    Having an internal structure and rules that people must follow does not, however, make the market "regulated" in the common vernacular.


    In the common vernacular, a "theory" is just a guess. I don't place my trust in the common vernacular. The fact is that YOU are the one conflating natural physical law with economic law, despite the fact that particles do not act with purpose, only PEOPLE do. It is through people's preferences that the rules are derived; for instance, invariably, people will prefer to do business with courteous and helpful people rather than the DMV types, which is why you see more of the DMV types at the DMV and not in banks, Apple stores or even Walmart. That's a regulation.

    People will invariably prefer to do business with businesses that do not try to rip them off than with shysters and double-crossers. Which is why the more successful businesses will be those that offer better value for the money in easy and voluntarily-enforced rules, whereas those companies that lack the vision to offer such customer service go under. That's a regulation.

    You may want to call it "common sense" - who gives a shit? It STILL regulates market actors. The ONLY difference between a government regulation and a market one is that the later is enforced through market choices whereas the former is enforced at the point of the bayonet and the boot on the throat.

  • ||

    Another Linertarianism: 101 article. I thought only Stossel did those.

  • TomB||

    Yeah, but those are great articles to share with friends and acquaintances. How often do you hear such crucial, fundamental arguments made so succinctly and in such accessible terms?

  • ||

    ^^This. It's fundamental to us, but unfortunately it's not quite so fundamental to most other people. Kudos to the Stossels of the world for articulating these principles. Lord knows Republican politicians won't do it.

  • Ben Kalafut||

    Glibertarianism 101. How to sound like a 70s throwback or get laughed out of the break room, in short, easy lessons. Lesson 1: assume property rights and contracts are magic, and have no free variables--and that these magical self-evident and self-enforcing property rights look a lot like the English freehold!

  • lighthouse||

    Gov market regulation on unsafe products makes sense:
    But not to set (say) energy standards on Buildings, Cars, Clothes washers, Light bulbs etc, as they compromise other useful features and save little energy overall.

    Free Market v. Taxation v. Regulation compared:
    Market Competition (helping new inventions to market, without continuing subsidies) or even Taxation + Subsidies (tax paying for the lowered price of alternatives) are better than Govmt Regulation, both for Choice and Energy/Money Savings
    http://freedomlightbulb.org
    .

  • lighthouse||

    The Government making market regulation on unsafe products makes sense:

    But not to set (say) energy standards on Buildings, Cars, Clothes washers, Light bulbs etc, as they compromise other useful features and save little energy overall, http://ceolas.net

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: lighthouse,

    The Government making market regulation on unsafe products makes sense


    What's an "unsafe" product?

    In my experience, there's no such thing as "unsafe product." There's only unsafe PEOPLE.

    I would say that is it UNsafe to crack open nuts with a hammer, as pieces may fly towards someone's eye or something, but does that make the hammer "unsafe," or is it the way I'm using it that is unsafe?

  • lighthouse||

    Free Market v. Taxation v. Regulation compared:
    Market Competition (helping new inventions to market, without continuing subsidies) or even Taxation + Subsidies (tax paying for the lowered price of alternatives) are better than Govmt Regulation, both for Choice and Energy/Money Savings http://tonn.ie

  • MoreFreedom||

    I'd like to thank Mr. Richman for a fine article. I like his idea that it's not regulated vs. unregulated, but instead government regulated or regulated by the free market. That the in the free market, we choose our actions and don't use force against others, while government regulation always uses force.

    And as others have pointed out, government's role is limited to resolving disputes (fraud, theft, failure to honor a contract, etc.), where force is required to correct wrongs.

    Bringing government force into action, where none is needed, just adds more use of force in the world. Something we don't need.

  • nike free run||

    I think it is the need to regulate

  • ||

    "A more honest title would be 'Government Controlling People. But that would have sounded a little authoritarian even in New Deal America, hence the wild horse metaphor."

    I just wonder who these people are that don't think the title "Man Controlling Trade" sounds equally authoritarian. It is, after all, the same damn thing.

  • Nashville Roofing||

    It is really important for us to follow the laws given by the government. It is for our won good also.

  • Ardelle||

    Since trade is not really a wild horse but rather a peaceful and mutually beneficial activity between people, the Roosevelt administration’s propaganda purpose is clear. A more honest title would be “Government Controlling People.” But that would have sounded a little authoritarian even in New Deal America, hence the wild horse metaphor.

  • Rob X||

    Obviously this ignores historical data, societal and economic factors, while bolstering a self-serving mythos absent of context. The free market does not regulate itself sufficiently. Even Adam Smith conceded that; what he posited was that the pursuit of self interest drove people to create better things that provided mutual benefit; supply and demand would have a balancing effect with production and pricing; and in no way was the government a non-factor but a regulatory apparatus to eliminate or mitigate those behaviors harmful to negative consequences for market relationships.
    I guess the author ignored that part.

  • Ben Kalafut||

    Did Reason bring Tibor Machan back on as editor?

    Those "market forces" are a function of law, at the very least of what property rights are. Economists have understood this at least since Coase. Law is prior to markets; there can be no market, at least none that would satisfy a libertarian, without law.

    An anarchist "unregulated market" may appear in e.g. prison camps, but even there the regulation comes in the form of custom and where that fails, force or the threat of force.

    This article may be up to the low intellectual standards of The Freeman but were I not to know better I'd take it, in Reason, to be a parody of the false moral clarity and naivety characteristic of the older, more ideological, generation of libertarians.

  • Landyn||

    Oh laissez-unfaireness.. Suppose we eliminate all regulations and tariffs will other countries follow suit or will they keep their protectionist regulations and tariffs. Sure we can have a free maket in the US, but it will NOT spread worldwide and inturn we will fuck ourselves as a nation even further. Can't make China a free market, or Europe for that matter, maybe Australia.

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