Fri, 28 May 2010

Not the free market's job

A bunch of people are tweeting and retreeting the question "I didn't look today, did the free market clean up the oil yet?". I have a couple of responses to that. First that there is no such thing as a free market. You're not free to sell something unless someone else is willing to buy it. That points to the conclusion that there are only customer-regulated markets and government-regulated markets. And that poses the question: who's the customer here, and if they're not regulating why not?

If customers can't regulate the behavior of sellers, then it's not even close to being that-thing-which-is-called-a-free-market. So that points to this: when governments regulate, they don't regulate in a vacuum. Their regulation displaces customer regulation. If you look at the oil industry, you'll find that it's regulated up the wazoo and back down again. Customers can't regulate because they're being prevented from doing so by government regulation.

Thus, to my friends who are asking this question, I suggest that since a free market isn't present in the oil industry, it's silly to expect that something which doesn't exist is capable of taking action.

And my second response is to ask what would have happened had this oil spill happened on private property. It's certainly the case that the property owner would have a contract with BP, and the contract would specify remedies. One way or the other, the property owner is going to be compensated for the risk of oil spills.

Who is the property owner here? Why, it's the federal government, which claims to own the seas off our coast. What does their contract with BP say? If it doesn't hold BP's feet to the fire for enough money to clean up the oil, then why did the government allow the drilling?

So the question is not why the free market hasn't cleaned it up yet, but instead why the government screwed up. Private companies fire incompetent executives, and if they don't do that, they go out of business. Who's going to lose their job over the irresponsible handling of the BP drilling? And if they don't, will the government go out of business?

The answer is obviously "no" to the second, and probably "nobody" to the first. And that, my friends, is exactly why you want to limit the things you let your government do.

Posted [00:00] [Filed in: ] [permalink] [Google for the title] oiltastrophy,bp,oil,freemarket [digg this]

Sun, 23 May 2010

Racism by Rand Paul?

Rand Paul points out that customer regulation of markets doesn't tolerate racism. Racism in a market is a commons. Anybody can be a racist, up to a point, but if too many people are racists, the market for racism gets destroyed. In order for all the racists to succeed in business, you need to manage this commons. Typically, this is done by government, and specifically, in the case of black racism, by Jim Crow laws.

Just another example of government regulation of markets making everyone worse off. It's a dangerous tool that we're better-off without. Yes, it can sometimes succeed, but most often it fails, and because the future is unknown to us, we can't pick the successes and avoid the failures.

Better to have separation of state and markets. Let customers regulate markets, not politicians.

Posted [00:00] [Filed in: ] [permalink] [Google for the title] racism,randpaul [digg this]

Mon, 03 May 2010

Immigration, the victimless crime

I am disappointed by conservative's reactions (Fred Thompson, and Anne Coulter, to name two) to the Arizona legislation. They point to a higher crime rate by illegal immigrants, to which I say "When immigration is outlawed, only outlaws will immigrate." If you make it risky to immigrate, only those with nothing to risk will immigrate. Perhaps this will surprise some conservatives, but there are Mexican professionals like doctors, lawyers, engineers, and programmers, who have better things to do than come to the US and standing around waiting to be hired.

Also, I want to see the victim of the crime of illegal immigration. Name the victim, or else I'll claim it's a victimless crime.

Or maybe they want to claim that Mexicans come here just to go on welfare? Sorry, but the facts go against that; instead they work on fake social security cards for which they will never be able to claim the benefits.

Or maybe they want to claim that Mexicans are here to take American's jobs? Well, the day that a spanish-only Mexican can take an english-speaking American's job, is the day that Mexican deserves the job. If an American can't or won't work harder than a Mexican, I have no pity for them. If they're a victim, it's of their own laziness.

Posted [00:00] [Filed in: ] [permalink] [Google for the title] arizona,immigration,crime,illegals [digg this]