Economics

"No one said loving free markets was easy."

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Over at Bloomberg and National Review, Reason columnist and Mercatus Center economist Veronique de Rugy discusses how the very businessmen who benefit from capitalism often try to hamstring competition. A snippet:

The truth is there is nothing most business people like less than free markets.

Think about it. Competition is good for consumers because it keeps prices low while increasing the quality and choices of products and services. Yet competition is hard work for businesses. They have to fight for customers by innovating and evolving in ways that consumers demand.

To avoid the gritty work of fighting it out in a free market, organized private interests—such as Louisiana's licensed funeral directors—lobby the government for special regulations, preferential tax treatment and laws that keep out competition. They lobby lawmakers to constrain the same free markets in which they originally achieved success.

She got that right, sadly. De Rugy runs through the literature and gives example after appalling example, from coffin cartels to sugar barons to "small" businesses that are able to marshal millions of dollars to lobby the government for protection from competition. She also links to a Reason.tv video about Los Angeles' crackdown on mobile food trucks, which have been instigated by bricks-and-mortar restaurants. Milton Friedman put it this way in Reason in 1974:

The case for free enterprise, for competition, is that it's the only system that will keep the capitalists from having too much power. There's the old saying, "If you want to catch a thief, set a thief to catch him." The virtue of free enterprise capitalism is that it sets one businessman against another and it's a most effective device for control.

A few years back economist Luigi Zingales and Raghuram Rajan wrote Saving Capitalism from the Capitalists, a book-length treatment of the subject that provides one of the best histories of the rise of capitalism and classical liberal political economy I've encountered. I highly recommend it.

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  1. The Jacket – posting with only ONE HOUR TILL HIS PARKER AND JERKHOLE APPEARANCE! Mere mortals would be prepping, ensuring they’re prepared for the ennui, the insipidness, and vapidityousness….ish.

    Not The Jacket. He’s Posting for Freedom. God Bless You, Nick Gillespie – God Bless You!

    *gazes on reverently*

    /weirdness

    1. God Bless You, Nick Gillespie – God Bless You!

  2. We’d have a free market libertopia if it weren’t for businesspeople.

    Seriously.

    1. Re: Spur,

      Yes, you’re right – serioulsy.

      1. Fabulouss. Sserioussly.

  3. “The truth is there is nothing most business people like less than free markets.”

    This very point was also said by John Stossel in his book Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity, that businesspeople couldn’t care less about free markets and competition, actually showing their own hostility towards people’s free choices by cosing up to Big Government, hence: licensing laws, tariffs, regulations and zoning codes.

    1. “cozying up.” Sorry.

        1. Thanks Reason for the Romania’s witches’ spelling curse story!

          1. Thanks Reason for giving me free advertisement space for my god-awful blog.

            Read ny blog.

            1. Heller congrats on your new blog but really how many hits will you get for:
              My daddy shot me into a test tube and abandoned me-the blog of a boy looking for my daddy.

              Dear readers

              I have no pictures but If you ever hear a man who fits the verbal description of
              “ahhh fuck yes; another $50 for my juice” then call me! He’s my lost daddy

    2. “This very point was also said by John Stossel in his book Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity,”

      Adam Smith made the same point a long time ago; when you’re dealing with a businessman, keep you hand on your wallet.
      I don’t trust, oh, Google any more than I trust the government. But Google doesn’t have the guns, so I can defend myself.

      1. But the government does it for your own good, those nasty capitalists do it for profits…yuck!

        They’re evil I tell ya!!!!

    3. I wonder what it says about free markets when the people who actually participate and excel in them couldn’t care less about them?

      1. Markets are a natural extension of human nature, not an institution created by humans. Their worth does not depend on human attitudes towards them. All seven billion of us breathe every day and rarely give a passing thought to the atmosphere.

      2. What does it say about evolution when the most evolved creatures on earth don’t like the fact that the microorganisms that attack them are also evolving?

        1. That it continues, on schedule.

      3. Couldn’t care less? I guess that explains all those dozens of communist countries that still exist.

        You’re wrong, MNG, they like the game, but too many are willing to cheat. And the politicians that you love are only too willing to help them.

      4. We give Big Government enormous power to *uck up people’s live. (Put the letter of your choice in place of that asterisk.) It’s natural to expect that people will go to great lengths to ensure that Big Government is using that power to *uck up somebody else’s life.

        The solution is not to give Big Government more power to *uck up people’s lives.

      5. It says that free markets are very good at diffusing power. Rentiers generally aren’t too fond of that.

  4. Which is what makes it all the more disgusting when the MSM portrays [former Commerce Secy] William Daley as an foe of big government because he’s been an executive at JP Morgan for a few years.

    Not only does the revolving door between the Cabinet and big business offer lucrative pay for those who traverse it, it apparently offers economic-conservative credentials as well.

    1. Daley. Daley. I knew a monarch named Daley once.

      1. How many criminals is Obama going to hire, anyway?

        1. Let me be clear.

          The answer to your question is “none” due to the pre-hiring pardon.

        2. How many criminals is Obama going to hire, anyway?

          All of them.

          1. you support chain-gangs too?

            1. Staffed by former politicians and political appointees? Sure.

    2. “Not only does the revolving door between the Cabinet and big business offer lucrative pay for those who traverse it, it apparently offers economic-conservative credentials as well.”

      As opposed to those like, oh, Clinton, who charge what they can get on the yapping circuit are still ‘pure’.

      1. At least the yapping circuit doesn’t expect you to call in favors with your friends in the government for them.

        1. Pretty sure it does. You think they’re paying him those fees ’cause he’s so pretty?
          Nothing more than buying access.

          1. They could also be paying him because he puts butts in the seats and impresses potential donors.

            That’s much more likely than JP Morgan hiring Bill Daley because of his financial expertise.

            1. “…impresses potential donors.”
              And those donors might have an interest in, oh, access to the government through his wife’s exulted position?
              Sorry, I see little difference, and entirely too much similarity. Rent-seeking is rent-seeking.

              1. Is there anything an ex-politician can do, other than sit at home masturbating, that you won’t consider solicitation of rent-seeking?

                And I thought I was cynical!

                1. “Is there anything an ex-politician can do, other than sit at home…”
                  An “ex-politician” could give talks for free, since the retirement is so generous. And they are so “pure”
                  Even that loser Carter hasn’t tried to trade on his connections.

                  1. Carter does all sorts of stuff for free just to distract himself from committing adultery in his heart. And rage against swamp bunnies.

                    You can’t expect everyone to be like that.

                  2. Even if he gave speeches for free, I don’t think the perception its all for political access would change. It’s still about his access.

                2. Tulpa, lemme try again:
                  The world knows that google isn’t selling searches; they’re selling eyes on ads. Regardless of their claims, they have no power to enforce their supposed ‘vision’.
                  Clinton is selling access to coercion, and that should require some sort of ‘truth in advertising’ if the man had an ounce of honesty in him. He doesn’t; he’s one more sleazy rent-seeker and rent-seller.

                3. But, wouldn’t we be better off if those politicians spent their time in office at home masturbating?

                4. Is there anything an ex-politician can do, other than sit at home masturbating, that you won’t consider solicitation of rent-seeking?

                  Sure. He could start or join a real business, and spend his time as a productive private citizen, with no more contact with the government than any other private citizen.

                  You will note that this is not what ex-politicians generally do.

    3. +1 His pick just means they are laying down the groundwork for the next bank bail out.

  5. We are all assholes. Ho hum. Tell me something new. But how can so many of my FB “friends” think that corporations are what is really out to get them?
    Corporations are like me: Looking for love, but getting rejected every time.
    As I said above: ho hum.

    1. You must be 40-49.

    2. David E. Gallaher/Ruthless|1.6.11 @ 8:42PM|#
      “We are all assholes….”

      Uh, is there a point you’re trying to make?

      1. Dicks fuck assholes. Especially if they’re 40-49.

        1. If I remember correctly, Ruthless is an anarchist from way-back, and a Vietnam veteran. He’s been a fixture in the libertarian movement for years…and having him around Hit & Run has been a big bonus since at least 2003, 2004 when I first came around.

          …by dissin’ him, you’re makin’ an ass of yourself.

          1. “…by dissin’ him, you’re makin’ an ass of yourself.’
            OK, but the post didn’t make any sense. Got a mind-reader interpretation?

          2. 40-49 was a reference to the age group/sex thread from yesterday. I wasn’t dissing him, but if he’s an anarchist, he deserves to be dissed.

            1. Then it was I who was making an ass of myself.

              …and it isn’t the first time something like that’s gone over my head.

              I apologize.

              1. Most of the adults left this place years ago.

                1. If so, that’s because most people become realists as they grow older, which isn’t a compliment. All that means is that they accept the status quo as is, and try to profit from it however they can. I don’t blame them, though, they generally have families to worry about.

                  The youth are idealistic, which is necessary. The problem is too many of them have the wrong ideals, thanks to the propaganda they get from the state controlled academic establishment.

              2. Apology accepted. My Force-choke servo is on the fritz, so if you could please do the honors yourself…

  6. To some extent it’s like evolution.

    We press whatever advantage we have, however we can, to the best of our ability. If government is willing to give you a leg up to the detriment of your competitors, then why would you stand in their way?

    “The virtue of free enterprise capitalism is that it sets one businessman against another and it’s a most effective device for control.”

    In other words, the virtue of free enterprise capitalism is that its primary beneficiary is the consumer.

    That’s what capitalism’s critics always get backwards–they think the government is run for the benefit of consumers, and as De Rugy’s exampled show, that’s bunk!

    Our government colludes with business to the detriment of consumers, and capitalism is getting the government out of that equation so it can’t do that anymore.

    1. “…capitalism is getting the government out of that equation so it can’t do that anymore.”

      I can’t see anything inherent in capitalism that denies government interference.
      As long as the government has the power to provide rents, there will be rent-seekers, including capitalists.

      1. Do you see anything about government regulation that denies government interference?

        I see capitalism as the alternative to government interference. Capitalism is when people coordinate themselves without interference from government.

        If less interference from government means less “rent seeking” to you, then we’re on the same page, right?

        1. “I see capitalism as the alternative to government interference. ”
          I know you do, but you haven’t shown that. Captitalism per se has no built-in protection against rent seeking, nor any disincentive to collecting those rents.
          Sorry, but capitalism may be an alternative, but it is no cure.

          1. You’re thinking of Capitalism as an economic rather than a political system.

    2. “The virtue of free enterprise capitalism is that it sets one businessman against another”

      Yeah, in the way that Trading Places was about one wealthy person set against another wealthy person.

      “I say Randolph, I bet I can get your consumer to purchase my shoddy goods over yours.”

      “Mortimer you have a bet!”

      1. Yeah, and real life is just like Eddie Murphy movies from the ’80s.

      2. What Ken said, and note that the two evil capitalists needed quite a bit of help from the government to make their grand scheme work.

      3. Ummmm….MNG….what exactly happened to Mortimer and Randolph in that movie?

      4. If Mortimer and Randolph actually operate this way, it opens up a profit opportunity that’s going to be filled from the outside, and Mortimer and Randolph will lose their market position to the newcomer. After all, if Mortimer and Randolph can find a way to sell crap to the public, it will be that much easier it will be for the newcomer to sell something decent.

    3. Crazy stuff. Next, you’ll tell me that religious hardliners are much bigger fans of the “free exercise” part of the first amendment than the “no establishment” part.

    4. In other words, the virtue of free enterprise capitalism is that its primary beneficiary is the consumer.

      No. The worker benefits, as well. Businesses compete for skilled workers, not just customers.

    5. Part of the problem is the language being used here. “Capitalism” is being used as an ideology but “capitalist” is someone who makes practical use of the system of capitalism to run a business, but there is nothing that requires that person to be an ideologue of capitalism.

  7. Veronique de Rugy is hot!

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  8. Veronique de Rugy is hot!

  9. God Bless You, Nick Gillespie – God Bless You!

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  11. Upon seeing a market with giant companies dominating it and providing mediocre service/goods libertarians here frequently say “looks like a good business opportunity.” It’s as if businesses just spring forth from the minds of eager entrepenuers, as if the capital that is necessary for many company starts just magically appears for the eager young start-up.

    In truth only a limited number of people have that kind of capital setting around, and the ones who already have it sunk into a particular enterprise often have big advantages because of that.

    1. Dude, I’ve been on your case today, so I’ll just say this nicely: you have no idea what you’re talking about. At my startup, we had almost zero money, but we had an idea and talent, and our CEO worked his ass off to get little angel investments from friends, family, and anyone else he could talk to so that we could make it to financing round A, where he worked his ass off again (while we worked our asses off on the technology) to get us enough money to go about 6 months, and then a “bridge” round to carry us over until round B. We don’t get paid normal salaries for our levels of expertise, because we are willing to sacrifice to try and make the company succeed. We are cheap as hell in every way to stretch that money farther, from only having used furniture and computers to not even having parking spots. People from Seattle will know how much no parking spot sucks.

      Yes, we and many other startups did just spring forth from the minds of eager entrepreneurs, and no, the fucking money does not magically appear–you have to work your ass off for it. Do you use UrbanSpoon? That’s three guys in a basement, for instance.

      I’d like to pleasantly suggest that you refrain from talking about entrepreneurial startups, as you have clearly indicated that you do not have any experience with how they operate. If you were to become more familiar, it might change some of your attitudes towards this subject.

      1. Thanks for the heads up on UrbanSpoon. Just wrote my first review!

      2. +100000000000000000000000000000000000

        I started working out of the trunk of my car. I saved my profits, and reinvested them in the company. As my client base grew, so did my business.

        It’s actually a very simple concept. The hardest part is building a client base. While people like MNG, (wage/slave laborers, I’m assuming) clock-in, clock-out and collect a paycheck at the end of the week, entrepreneurs are constantly working. After about the first 6 months of being in business, I decided I would rather starve than ever work a wage/slave job. MNG is a slave because he CHOOSES to be, and then complains about it, and thinks he has some right to take from others simply because they have something he is too lazy to get for himself.

      3. I got into my industry because at the time I was working for a regional monopoly. I quit and went independant because I knew the margins had to be astronomical, and they were. My initial experience was much like Episiarch, until I was able to build up some trust among the clientele, and establish myself. Then I started a price war, which brought the margins down to a more reasonable level.

        Of course, I was lucky, in the sense that I happened to enter a market dominated by monopoly control, and anybody in the same situation could have done the same thing. But, then again, there were others that worked for this particular firm and didn’t make a move.

        That’s because entrepreneurism doesn’t just require brains and hard work. Sometimes it doesn’t even take those. Mostly, you just have to be opportunistic, and a lot of people aren’t.

        Bottom line is that my experience happened pretty much like the textbooks say, despite the Socialists claim that the textbooks don’t reflect reality.

      4. Epi
        I see your point, but I was talking about more “capital intensive” industries like cable companies, movie theaters, health insurance companies, etc.

        1. You’re right. A janitor is not going to quit his job and take down Aetna. But a minor competitor might. Also, you don’t actually have to replace the existing establishment firms to be effective. All you have to do is present a threat, which keeps them honest. That’s why profit margins in the health insurance industry sit at around 3.5%, one of the lowest there is.

      5. “Yes, we and many other startups did just spring forth from the minds of eager entrepreneurs, and no, the fucking money does not magically appear–you have to work your ass off for it.”

        Evidenced by the fact that 80% of American millionaire’s are self-made.

    2. MNG|1.6.11 @ 10:08PM|#
      “Upon seeing a market with giant companies dominating it and providing mediocre service/goods…”
      Right. That computer you’re typing on is real “mediocre” compared to the one you typed on, oh, five years ago.
      What a brain-dead asshole.

    3. As somebody who’s raised a lot of money over the years, raising equity is by far the easiest part of what I do.

      There is way more money out there than there are good places to put it.

      That’s not the way I thought it was either–until I got in the business. If you have something worth doing that you can back up with numbers to show it’s worth doing? The money to do it will chase you down and throw itself at you.

      We’ve had people get mad at us because we didn’t have enough room for their money in our project.

      Government makes it harder to make the numbers make sense–but once it does make sense? Finding equity hasn’t been a problem.

      It was a problem finding loan money from banks around the time of the credit crunch, but that was unusual and certainly in no small part due to government interference with the banks at the time. Even then though, if you could make the deal make sense despite the high equity requirement? The money was there.

    4. You’ve heard of “investing”, right? It’s the process by which those people that have capital give it to the person who has the idea and ambition, in exchange for a share of his business or repayment with interest.

    5. Re: MNG,

      Upon seeing a market with giant companies dominating it and providing mediocre service/goods[…]

      Compared to the non-mediocre goods and services found in…. ????? Cuba?

      It’s as if businesses just spring forth from the minds of eager entrepenuers, as if the capital that is necessary for many company starts just magically appears for the eager young start-up.

      You’re right – Apple never happened. Or HP. Or Amazon.com. Or the Moxie dolls. Or…

      In truth only a limited number of people have that kind of capital setting around

      Which is no wonder as there is only a limited number of people standing on the Earth.

      [I love it when people use the word “limited” when they want to mean “small”, when etymologically it only means “within a boundary.”]

      The point you missed, MNG, is that businesspeople will use the power of the State (what else???) to circumvent the apparent tribulations stemming from constant competition.

    6. Didn’t HP start in someone’s garage?

      1. It’s nice to site a half dozen instances of small companies becoming big ones and not the comparable thousands that were squashed by large companies…

        1. Not squashed. Bought up, and their ideas incorporated into the existing business plan. The entrepreneur gets a handsome reward for his/her innovation, and the firm gets a leg up on its competition thanks to that innovation. The consumer benefits.

        2. Re: MNG,

          It’s nice to site a half dozen instances of small companies becoming big ones and not the comparable thousands that were squashed by large companies…

          Or the big ones made into smaller (and less efficient) ones by the power of the Sherman Act and nevious competitors…

          Standard Oil, Alcoa, Blockbuster Video (the most recent one)…

          1. Envious. Slippery fingers…

    7. You’re mind is in the stone age. In the real world, markets gave rise to venture capital, like, 1000 years ago. You don’t need money for a startup, all you need is a good idea that will improve people’s lives to a degree greater than the it costs to produce it. Get that, and you’ll attract the capital you need.

    8. Got to pile on here. I work for one of the largest P & C insurance companies. I work with a large number of third party providers. Almost all of them, were startups from a single owner. Some have grown very large in a relatively short amount of time due to hard work, good talent and great service. They have beaten out those large corporations, which is all you seem to be able to see. 100% fail, MNG.

      1. Correct. Large firms suffer from the same beurocratic inefficiences as governments. The truth is, despite the propoganda perpetuated by the MSM, small firms are the one’s with the advantage, except when it comes to bending legislation to their advantage.

        1. Small companies that provide poor service to their customers have a tendency to go out of business quickly and quietly.

          Big companies that provide poor service to their customers might survive for a long time.

  12. Geez, reality just won’t live up to the wet dreams of crackpot zealots. What a fucking bitch! That anorexic frog cunt is on to something.

    1. Re: Max,

      Max, H&R’s pet yorkie.

      Here, boy! Here, Max! Go fetch! Good boy!!

      Nooo! No, no, bad boy, Max! Don’t do your banalities in the carpet! Bad boy, Max!

    2. ARF ARF ARF ARF ARF ARF ARF ARF

  13. The problem is that people confuse “private property” with “free markets”. Capitalism features both, but lots of economic systems feature private property, including mercantilism and corporatism. Hell, I think even communism allowed private property rights in consumer goods, just not in capital.

  14. The world would be great, if only everyone behaved in precisely the correct manner.

    1. Yeah, see that’s definitely the part you’re not getting.

      Government control would be great if everyone behaved in precisely the correct manner–short of that? The outcome is better for everyone generally when everyone’s free to make their own choices. …regardless of what the government wants us to do.

      In other words, I don’t see libertarianism as being idealistic that way–I see it as completely pragmatic.

      Idealism is the Pollyanna expectation that people will stop smoking marijuana because it’s against the law.

      Idealism is the idea that our elected representatives will make decisions with my best interests at heart.

      1. The outcome is better for everyone generally when everyone’s free to make their own choices

        Yes, how pragmatic. Especially when you include caveats such as “do no harm to others,” which requires government to enforce. But as a pragmatist, of course you don’t believe there is a stark black/white line between where the caveats stop and evil socialism begins.

        1. In what universe does “do no harm to others” REQUIRE government enforcement? And, how exactly does the one agency that does harm TO EVERYONE get that job?

        2. Generally, “doing no harm to others” doesn’t require laws or enforcement. The reason I don’t go around raping and pillaging has nothing to do with laws or law enforcement–it’s because I’m not a psychopath.

          There are psychopaths out there, and thank God the government’s there to throw them in jail when necessary–and I say that will full libertarian conviction.

          ’cause, you see, libertarians are very much against crime, “crime” being when one person does something to another person by force and “force” being the opposite of when everybody gets to make their own choices.

          Again, that’s not idealism–and it’s only contradictory if you assume we’re anarchists or something. There’s nothing contradictory about being in favor of everybody making their own choices on the one hand and being against rape, armed robbery and other crimes on the other.

          Being against that kind of coercion is what being a libertarian is all about. Using the the existence of psychopaths to justify the government micromanaging my healthcare, my finances and a million other things is what silliness is all about.

    2. Libertarian|1.6.11 @ 11:29PM|#
      “The world would be great, if only everyone behaved in precisely the correct manner.”
      Most people do behave that way; it’s the brain-dead presumption of the ‘new soviet man’ that fails.
      Got any evidence otherwise? Love to see it.

      1. Well, whether one behaves correctly depends a lot on whether one is starving. In libertaria, though starvation would be widespread, thankfully, bootstraps are plentiful.

        1. Well, whether one behaves correctly depends a lot on whether one is starving.

          So good to know that the Wall Street crew would never bend the rules.

          Increased wealth equals better behavior. Check. Better cut government spending and taxes!

        2. Well, whether one behaves correctly depends a lot on whether one is starving. In libertaria, though starvation would be widespread, thankfully, bootstraps are plentiful.

          The bot has gone full retard.

          Check your history, specifically a couple of guys named Mao and Stalin. People most often starve when the government involves itself most. So, in Libertopia, there would be so much more for everyone, because the parasites wouldn’t be able to feed off of the productive. Let me guess, you are one of the former.

    3. “The world would be great, if only everyone behaved in precisely the correct manner.”

      Nope. All you have to do is be a principled Capitalist on election day. The rest of the time you get to be as self-serving as you want.

      The same is true of any socio-political system that lives under a representative democracy.

  15. Looks like Pete Eyre is modeling that t-shirt!

  16. My pillowcase tastes like mustard.

    1. My mustardcase tastes like pillow.

      1. Let’s fuck.

  17. So, Ms de Rugy has read Schumpeter.

    As entrepreneurs innovate, they reap economic rewards. Production then expands and new forms of economic organization emerge, such as the modern firm, which grows to capture economic opportunities. As the size of the firm increases, so too does its bureaucracy. The functions of ownership and control gradually separate. Eventually, the owners find that their connection to, and knowledge of, the economic process has been severed. They lose the ability to see the necessity of social institutions, such as private ownership and voluntary contract – institutions without which there would be no economic progress. Isolated from economic reality, their sympathy for the capitalist system begins to wane, and, with it, the social support for the institutions that form the foundation of capitalism. These render the capitalist system open to attack from hostile parties.

  18. Its a profit and LOSS system. To the liberal critique of the libertarins anti regulation arguement, who is proping up Goldman Sachs now?
    Bush was wrong to do it, and so is Obama.
    The very term “regulatory capture” shows what is wrong with regulation – a system where the gubermint has more of an interest in assuring “stability” (status quo) than allowing the incompetent and venal to fail. Think about the interest subsidy to banks, and the amount of wealth transferred from savers to banks, all orchestrated by our noble “regulators” at the Fed and the Treasury, Mr. “Subprime contained” and Turbo Tax Timmy. And who appointed them? And Freddie and Fannie, which had they very OWN regulatory agencies. Or the oligoly of the rating agencies, Moody’s and S&P (nationally recognized statistical rating agencies) that couldn’t rate a bond any better than a crack ho.

    1. Moody’s and S&P (nationally recognized statistical rating agencies) that couldn’t rate a bond any better than a crack ho.

      Hmmm, I am not so sure I agree with this. A crack ho has had real life experience setting prices, marketing services and satisfying customers. Especially when you consider the rating agency’s recent history, I would think that the crack ho could probably do it better.

  19. This is just more of Reason Magazine pandering to the left, and exposing the fact that the authors here don’t understand how free markets work. The fact that capitalists often lobby for benefits from the government isn’t the capitalists’ fault. Their role is to increase profits. That’s all. The government’s role is to protect property rights for everybody in an equal fasion. So when legislation is passed that benefits the capitalist at the expense of the consumer, the fault is with the government, and ultimately, the electorate.

    1. With the caveat that if guv’ment power is properly restricted, there wouldn’t be any benefit to rent-seeking behavior, and the capitalist wouldn’t waste their time…

      1. Correct. And just so we’re not beating around the bush at all, the fault is with the statist left, who’ve given these unrestricted power to the government because of their fanatic devotion to the efficacy of democracy and equality, both of which fail in both theory and practice, unless they’re thought of as tools instead of ends in themselves.

    2. There’s plenty of contempt to go around, though. The government gets contempt for being big enough to invite lobbying, and the rent-seeking capitalists get contempt for trying to profit by underhanded means.

    3. “Capitalists can do no wrong” is just as silly as “all capitalists are evil”. Everybody wants to “increase profits”. Problem is, some people want to do it so badly, they don’t mind screwing other people over. It has nothing to do with Left or Right.

  20. As Adam Smith said long ago:
    People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.

  21. I’ve been a free market libertarian a very long time. Yet I’m not immune to this rent seeking mentality. Once upon a time when I was in business, one of my suppliers decided to go retail and sell direct. My reaction? “OMG! He can’t do that! There should be a law!”

    Was it unfair? Well… yes. Should there have been a law? No. Although this move hurt me, it ultimately helped the consumer. They got lower prices and better service.

  22. Thanks for featuring my shirt design… but I always thought the dark version was much better: http://www.zazzle.com/milton_f…..1300781671

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