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“Free Market” — words, words, words

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In addition to TANSTAAFL (“There is no such thing as a free lunch”) there is also TANSTAAFM (“There is no such thing as a free market”).  If someone uses “free market” or “free enterprise” or “let the market settle it” in an argument about the United States they have an attenuated grasp of reality.

If you think the United States has a free market, then I advise you to try the following business moves:

  • Build a television transmitter and broadcast from it, making revenue from advertising.  Transmit whatever you like.
  • Open a hot dog stand in the back of your station wagon in the downtown area of your home town
  • Attempt to buy antibiotics from a pharmacy for resale on the sidewalk in front of a UTC
  • In most of America, trade sex for monetary compensation (in a direct form, rather than indirectly through a “relationship”)
  • Import drugs purchased legally abroad for sale and distribution in the US
  • Make a still and start selling the resulting alcohol out of your garage, even to members of the armed services under the age of 21.
  • Build whatever kind of business you like on your land within a city limit
  • Talk to the wrong person before purchasing stock

The list could go on and on.  Free market capitalism simply does not exist in the United States.  What we have, rather, is regulatory capitalism, much of which is driven by major corporations attempting to stifle free competition in order to protect their own profits.  (The same could be said of political parties attempting to protect their chances with voters, but we’ll leave that for another day.)

The idea that we have a free market capitalism is appealing on an emotional level, but it remains a lie.  If someone uses it in an argument, call them on it.  Since we have a regulatory capitalism, that portion of their argument must evolve to take into account what regulations exist, what regulations are being called for, and where the benefits of such legislation accrue.

Written by Bill O'Rights

August 18, 2009 at 1:24 am

Posted in Words

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