"The great danger to the consumer is the monopoly — whether private or governmental."--Milton Friedman
As I have become a recent disciple of the late great champion of capitalism, Milton Friedman, my mind has been abuzz with the ideas of true capitalism and its power to lift people out of poverty. There is a reason why the USA has been the greatest economic success story Earth's history has ever seen. It is because the constitution protects peoples' right to pursue their own self interest. The pursuit of self interest is the driving force behind capitalism. I would venture to guess that very few successful entrepreneurs ever started a business with the idea of providing benefits or charity to the masses as said entrepreneur's primary goal. A company opens its doors because the person or people who start that business want to, at the very least, earn an income that gives them financial independence without having to answer to someone else. It is why, when one finds pockets of capitalism that are somehow shielded from government intervention, these sectors explode. That is until government feels the need to extend its constricting tentacles and choke off the innovation that comes only when a person is able to pursue his or her own self interest.
Unfortunately since power is so enticing, the nature of most people is to consolidate that power. The logical result of this within business is the monopoly, which almost everyone believes is a bad thing. But, Is not an all powerful central government another form of a monopoly and just as dangerous as a private sector monopoly? Why is it that liberals, who will be the first to rightfully condemn private monopolies, are so blinded by their ideology to not recognize that centralized planning of any portion of the economy is a monopoly? Do we not have numerous examples within the brief history of our own country that illustrate this point perfectly? For every "Ma Bell" (which was broken up by the US government) there is a myriad of examples within the government where power has been consolidated, and the result is mismanagement, ineffectiveness and corruption. There are anti-trust laws that allow government to regulate and break up monopolies as they get too powerful. Now I am not arguing the efficacy or prudence of such laws (I personally think that the market will eventually take care of itself in these matters), but ask this question:
What recourse do citizens have when a portion of government has grown to big and unwieldy and has become a public "monopoly?" Where can we go to break up such a monopoly?
People may try to argue that government will somehow be "fairer" as it takes care and provides for the people. First, who defines what is fair? I certainly will have a different view of what is fair in comparison to someone else. Second and more importantly, History shows us that this notion is flawed anyway. In almost every case government entities waste millions, if not billions of dollars, are unwieldy, and continually grow larger and larger, while providing fewer and fewer benefits to the masses and almost always at a greater expense to the public.
One can look at Public Education, Social Security, Medicare, The US Postal Service, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (just to name a few) and acknowledge their abject failures, or worse the ticking economic neuclear bomb that will go off if not defused, and wonder why do so many seemingly smart people think that with something like health care, government will be able to finally do it right.
History tells me that the outcome of Obamacare (and subsequently single payer health care) will be no different than what we have gotten with some of the things I have named.
Someone once said, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, while expecting a different result." Insanity indeed.
From the Point of View of a Red State American
Tuesday, August 07, 2012
Monopolies are not just a problem in the Private Sector
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