Freedom versus Regulation

by | Apr 19, 2012

If a survey were taken, what would receive the lowest scores for quality, price, and value: The post office The state of our roads The quality of public education The price of gasoline Energy bills Wall Street Congress Chances are good that all of these would receive rather low scores. Interestingly, all of these have […]

If a survey were taken, what would receive the lowest scores for quality, price, and value:

  • The post office
  • The state of our roads
  • The quality of public education
  • The price of gasoline
  • Energy bills
  • Wall Street
  • Congress

Chances are good that all of these would receive rather low scores. Interestingly, all of these have one thing in common.

The post office, our roads, and public education are all government monopolies. While there may be a small level of competition in each area, government dominates all three. These government monopolies are financially supported through coercive taxation. In regard to the post office and roads, competition is prohibited. And in regard to education, government regulations, as well as the burden put on taxpayers, effectively reduces competition.

Oil companies, utilities, and Wall Street are all heavily regulated. These businessmen cannot act as they judge best, but must follow the dictates and decrees of politicians and bureaucrats. And when something goes wrong, guess who gets the blame.

So, what do these have in common? All are controlled by government. In each realm, government dominates. In each realm, individuals are not free to act as they think best. And the results speak for themselves.

In contrast, what area of life is likely to receive the highest praise from Americans? It would likely be technology companies. From the I-Pod to flat screen televisions, from smart phones to the I-Pad, technology companies continue to delight us and make our lives better. Why? Why do technology companies regularly introduce new products, while the post office is going broke and our schools continue to do a poor job?

Among all business, technology companies tend to be the least regulated–they are the freest. The owners of these companies can innovate and act on their judgment without answering to Barney Frank or Nancy Pelosi. They can act as they judge best in response to the demands of the market, rather than spending their precious time meeting the demands of some petty bureaucrat.

While thousands stand in line to buy the latest “gadget,” thousands of others stand in line to buy stamps. The former do it because they want the value offered; the latter do it because they have no choice. Imagine what entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Michael Dell could do with our schools, our roads, and everything else if they were free to act without government regulations.

Brian Phillips has been actively defending individual rights for the past twenty-five years. He has successfully helped defeat attempts to implement zoning in Houston, Texas, and Hobbs, New Mexico. His writing has appeared in The Freeman, Reason, The Orange County Register, The Houston Chronicle, The Objective Standard, Capitalism Magazine, and dozens of other publications. He is the author of Individual Rights and Government Wrongs

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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