17A039 Market Deniers by Jim Davies, 11/7/2017    


Of several good ways to define "government", here is one of the best: "Government is that which prohibits markets."

Correctly, that definition doesn't attribute to government any positive attribute but accurately shows that it is wholly negative; it prevents a good and vital thing working. Let's check it, first.

A "market" is that kind of social arrangement in which people relate to each other voluntarily, by means of freely negotiated contracts, formal and less formal. Nobody is forced to do anything unless he wishes to do it; an obligation arises only after he chooses to make an agreement. Some are long term, some are very short term (I collect some item from the shelf, present it at the checkout and agree to pay for it; a few moments later that contract is fulfilled and the item becomes mine.)

That arrangement is optimal, because it leaves nobody aggrieved. We humans make reasoned choices - that's what most distinguishes us from other animals - so when we make one freely the results are ours. The consequences, good or bad, came from what we did, nobody else. So there is no room for grief, no way to blame someone else; and if the results bring benefit, we can take pride and satisfaction in what we did ourselves. This removes a big source of discord in society. Everybody's gruntled.

That's what the coming zero government society will be like; but meanwhile, the arrangement is prohibited, by people not participating in the contract. They intrude by force and dictate some of its terms. That's "government" - and that's what happens at local, state and federal level and in the case of a single person, even, who forcefully interferes with choices being made; he's a kriminal, but also a miniature government. Sometimes the interference is minor - it merely distorts the market - and sometimes it's devastating, when the nascent contract is prohibited altogether. But in every case, prohibition is taking place; choice is being denied.

So, take for instance a very popular contract: marriage. Two people make an agreement to live with each other, in some style. The most popular is a man and a woman, agreeing to share a home, a bed, a family, various properties. They promise to love, honor, cherish, and (sometimes) obey, and to "hold only unto" each other. But wait: all that is prohibited, without a license from government! A license is a permit; a fee for it is payable, then permission is granted... or with-held. It's with-held if the match is not approved by the permit-issuers of the day; it doesn't matter how often that occurs, because by virtue of its being required by law, permission could be denied, and the marriage contract cannot be executed without it. How utterly arrogant! But that is what government does. The market in marriage is denied.

Or take another popular contract: one for a job. A hires B, to do some work in exchange for pay. They discuss the type and content of the work, how much time it is to take, etc, and what sum will be paid. They agree on terms; say, 40 hours a week at $5 an hour. "B" doesn't have many skills, he's new to the labor market, so his help isn't worth more than that to A. But both are pleased with the terms because value is subjective. It's win-win.

Then cometh "G", a third party who contributes nothing to the work or the pay check, and requires under threat of force that the terms be changed; that A must pay B half as much again for his labor, and furnish in addition a range of non-monetary benefits which B may well accept but which he did not demand as a condition of the deal. "A" now has a problem; to get B's labor he has to lose a total of nearly $10 an hour, and that labor simply is not worth that much to him. He may pay it and raise prices to his customers, or he may go out of business, but one way or the other the market is distorted and denied.

Here's a third popular contract: one to construct a home, somewhere to live. Naturally most buyers acquire one that's already built, but all of them have to be built some time, so consider the case of a new build. The buyer and the builder, and perhaps the architect and the insurer, if any, sit down to negotiate a contract. Scores of options and features are available, and affect the price; the builder will want to sell them, but the buyer will want only those which he thinks will be valuable. Some listed items are chosen, some rejected.

Then cometh "G", an uninvolved third party, and forcibly revises the list so that the buyer must order some items he doesn't want. The builder doesn't mind, provided the sale still goes through; it's extra money for him. But the buyer loses. He's forced to pay for features he doesn't need. The mandated list is called a building "code", and in last week's newspaper I noticed an advertisement from one nearby town government offering work: it is "seeking qualified applicants for the position of Code Enforcement Officer." So, that government will pay someone to go around enforcing its rules on people who do not wish to follow them; and it will pay him a salary out of funds confiscated from the very home-buyers whom it is helping to hobble in the first place. It hits them therefore with a double whammy.

Finally the happy couple is married, buys a home, gets a job or two, and soon hears the patter of tiny feet. At once, education begins, and no child learns faster than during his or her first month of life. All that education comes from Mum and Dad, and that continues for five or six years; eventually the parents consider using a school, with specialized teachers. Another market decision seems to pend.

Funny thing: the range of available schools is very limited. There are government-operated ones, and just a few others of which some are reasonably priced and others, very expensive. But the real shocker is that they have to pay for places at a government school whether chosen or not. It's as if they chose to buy a Ford, but a third party forced them at gunpoint to pay for an (unused) Chevy as well. Now they see why there are so few choices; when $15,000 a year has been paid to the government school system, there's not much left over for any alternative. Once again, the market has been denied.

Those are four simple and very common examples: marriage, job, home and school. The market for each of them is huge; nearly everyone takes part in all four. And those markets are all denied, prohibited; choices may not be freely made. There are thousands of other situations, markets which governments also prohibit, but most of which involves a smaller number of people; in every case, government intrudes as a market denier.

It will continue doing that, and more of it every year, until it can find nobody willing to work for it. And that will happen only when everyone has graduated from the Freedom Academy, and hence understood the ruinous nature of government.

What the coming free society
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How Government Silenced Irwin Schiff

2016 book tells the sad story and shows that government is even more evil than was supposed