Now if only we could apply this precedent to so many other issues…(via hipsterlibertarian)
Clive Wilkinson is an architect that recently worked with the Barbarian Group to resign its NYC offices, including a 1,100-foot-long ‘table’ that forms a moebius-like ribbon running around the 23,000-square-foot office. He was interviewed by Elaine Louie about the reasoning involved.
Armen Alchian, University Economics (1972)
Ugh, this could be a very long reply. But I’ll try to keep it (mostly) short.
Basically, I don’t think it’s possible to end corporate corruption of government without ending all opportunities for it. As long as government is given the ability to interfere in the marketplace, it will do so at the behest of the rich and powerful.
This is the case for two main reasons:
1. Regulations will always written by the richest of the regulated. Our representatives in Congress cannot be experts on every topic ever. So if they are allowed the power to regulate/tax/fine/whatever a given industry, they will inevitably consult that industry’s “experts” for the knowledge they need to write the new law. And those experts will inevitably have some degree of connection to the most powerful businesses in that industry, whether they’re lobbyists (which mom and pop stores just can’t afford) or former executives who have passed through the “revolving door" into government.
When these industry insiders write the regulations, etc., they will shape the law in favor of their business and against their smaller competition. (Here’s an example of this in the beer industry which I wrote about recently.) And that brings me to the second reason:
2. Government intervention will always be less troublesome and more profitable to big business than to smaller companies. Big corporations have more resources and more leeway to adapt to government intervention in the market than small outfits. A requirement which Wal-Mart can afford to meet may put a small, local store out of business. Conversely, if the government is handing out subsidies in a given industry, ceteris paribus, a large business will have an easier time meeting the requirements and making the political connections to secure that funding.
Because of these two, closely-related factors, many libertarians believe we wouldn’t have big business in the way we now have it if the market was truly free. The mega-corporations we currently see are very possibly an artificial distortion of the marketplace brought on as a result of corporatism.
So how do you oust the corporatists from government? Well, if government has nothing to sell, they’ll have nothing to buy. You oust them by taking away government’s authority to play favorites and otherwise interfere in the marketplace.
P.S. Sorry it took me SO long to answer this. It’s been a crazy semester at school.
A good read on how to ask good questions to drive problem resolution.
This is an analysis which assumes people to be so incredibly stupid and unconcerned with their wellbeing that only well-meaning and unselfish government agents (who are as cryptozoological as six-armed unicorns) can, with threats of violence, help them from themselves. It also ignores how the very monopoly you support is how many businesses can get away with just what you fear today.
In a climate in which government does not protect businesses both from liability for such fraudulence or from competitors who wish to expose and capitalize on said fraudulence, such a scam would be short-lived and heavily-punished. The fact that this isn’t the current climate isn’t cause to double down on the reason it isn’t the current climate in the first place.
I find no fault with this truism.
However, it is true precisely for the reasons I am against “mandatory middle-men.” You see, the reason a person is smart and people are dumb is how they are making these choices and decisions: individually or collectively. When an individual makes a decision over his own life, he knows better than anyone else what his ends are - even if his means don’t always work out. When a collective makes a decision over the lives of a disparate (and non-consensual) group of people, it is impossible for them to know what’s good for each and every person because each and every person has a different set of desires and histories and fears and families and demands and physiology and cultures, etc.
There is no one size fits all solution.
Yet, that’s what you are advocating for. You want fewer persons making decisions for themselves and more people making decisions for everyone.
Here we go.
And I’m not saying nor am I implying that the government is there to “help them from themselves.” So don’t put words in my mouth to help your case.
Yes you are.
I am saying that the government is here to help people from greedy corporations that have in the past and would gladly in the future take advantage of an unregulated practice to benefit themselves.
You are stating that the government is interceding in what would have otherwise been a voluntary exchange to prevent one party from voluntarily engaging in something that would be harmful to him, that is be “taken advantage of” by “greedy corporations.” Ergo, you wish the government to help people from themselves, from their own poor choices.
Take Mcdonalds for example. Their food is incredibly unhealthy, (watch supersize me.)
I once was myself completely blown away by Super Size me. If that is the basis of your assertion, however, I’d have to recommend the documentary Fathead, which was a sort of a less-polished response to Super Size Me. After that a couple of books: The Primal Blueprint and Why We Get Fat, can be good primers. Unfortunately, my wife’s masters in nutrition won’t come in handy for you as it did for me when processing all this, but you should be able to get the picture.
and can lead to several health problems. But why do people continue to eat there? Because it fast and inexpensive.
Yes. Indeed. But what if you banned McDonald’s? Would the people who choose to eat there be better off if they could only by their produce from, say, Whole Foods? How much more of their income would you wish for them to spend on food before you think they’ll be unhappy? This is more of the elitist “let them eat cake” plea.
Further, this very unhealthy McDonald’s you hate exists within the very web of regulation and intervention you support.
Not only that, but the very health framework that McDonald’s has been operating in is based on corporatist and protectionist policies and recommendations - from corn subsidies and sugar tariffs leading to the ubiquity of corn syrup to the food pyramid that upturned the human diet as it has existed for millennia for a diet based on grains - the base of the food pyramid. Nevermind those agribusinesses who benefitted so greatly from such propaganda and handouts.
There are several regulations, that companies like this have sneaked past to save a few cents here and there to pass the savings to customers. TacoBell recently had a meat thing where they were going against regulation to profit. Now imagine if those regulations weren’t there, if they do it now, how would it be then?
Even though you provide no source, I will assume that you are referring to the lawsuit brought on by a private law firm in Alabama against Taco Bell claiming that their “meat” contained less “meat” than allowed by regulation - a lawsuit that was dropped three months later.
You have thus shown that this regulation you support is useless and permissive. (That’s the thing with monopolies: not a lot of pressure to do things efficiently or properly.) It wasn’t a government agency that forced Taco Bell to be more detailed about the composition of their products, it was private entities and public pressure - that is many individuals concerned about their own self-interest - that threatened their bottom line.
Currently there are regulations in place to insure there is less than a certain number of bug parts in food, its discussing that there needs to be government intervention for that, but there is a reason why the government had to step in, obviously kraft wasn’t watching itself or this would not have come to the attention of anyone.
Alas, this is the most concerning of your responses. The logic here is (too) simple: it exists ergo it must exist. But this ignores how law is made and enforced. Who crafts it and how it comes to be. It presumes the state to be a leader in providing safety, and a capable one at that. But take airbags, for instance. They were introduced as an option for pricier cars. As they began to prove themselves as a serious safety product, demand grew - which drove competition and was thus increasing supply and lowering prices. This was all happening naturally. And then government interceded and made it mandatory. Naturally, this is seen as an increase in safety. But as always, the victims are found in the margins. Consider a poor man with an older beater. He could have bought a newer, much safer car - but because the mandatory airbag increased the price (since, after all, airbags are not free) - he had to delay his purchase until he could afford it. Until he finally buys the car, the poor man is made less safe than he otherwise would have been. And then later he’d be more poor than he otherwise would have been. Furthermore, the guarantee of the airbag no doubt stagnated advancements and cost reductions that would have emerged otherwise.
Not always, some companies have become quit good at thriving when they do not do what is best for the customer. If they can provide a dangerous product for less, but can hide its dangerousness, they are extremely capable of not loosing. And if its not mandatory, everyone will go for the cheaper option, and the consumer will end up loosing. And eventually can be an awfully long time, or even an indefinite amount of time.
But say they remove that regulation, now companies can provide food cheaper, because they no longer need to keep track of this, some would do it and some wouldn’t. Those that keep higher standards would probably alert customers of the competition, but it would still present the problem of - more bugs less money or less bugs more money. If this was such an easy choice more people would be eating at fancy five star restaurants. …
I agree completely: “If this was such an easy choice more people would be eating at fancy five star restaurants.” But they are not. Do they not know what’s best for them, or do they make tradeoffs over scarce resources like all other humans? And who knows what’s best for you, you or someone else? So again, I state that which you so vehemently claim is not your argument: you want the government to help people from their own poor choices.