I read an interesting article recently about how in a truly Free Market, British Petroleum would have failed post-oil spill. It would have gone out of business.
The common understanding of Free Market implies that businesses would run flagrantly out of control, abusing all natural resources and killing everyone with their unregulated products, and while I won’t argue that there are a few unscrupulous charlatans who would seek to abuse their power for money, the Free Market threatens them with a severe check to their balance. You see, those who attempt to do business and fail to deliver a quality product soon fail to find business any longer.
And in this day an age, where internet reviews become ever more important for continued business, there is less and less need (if ever there was) for government to tell you if a business is good or not. And on that note, let’s pay special attention that not only were regulators in bed with oil executives figuratively, but also literally!
The largest corporate abuses against the American public are perpetuated only when government permits it, and let me be very clear. This isn’t government permission in the “isn’t doing it’s job,” sense, but in the fact that government controls and securities are the only way such businesses can continue such abuse beyond the first generation of dissatisfied customers. Such securities, regulations and restrictions are often put into place by lobbyists HIRED by big business! It’s a tactic to knock out the competitors by making it too expensive to compete with you.
You see, BP would have gone bankrupt if not for Government subsidies to the company! The very company that threatened to destroy the quality of life for millions of people across the Gulf of Mexico remained in business at taxpayer expense because our government was keeping it afloat!
So for all those people I know who wanted the Fed to come down real hard on BP, the Fed kept them going! They were responsible for BP’s survival!
I have friends who would desire the government to be a strong, benevolent power that promotes individuality, social and cultural unity, multiculturalism, tolerant nationalism, and common welfare, and yet these factors are rather antithetical. The state and individual do not well coexist, as neither can benefit best while the other thrives. There is a level of balance, but it only exists when the population stops growing, is entirely of one culture, and has reached an equilibrium of individual needs and state power.
However, in the United States, a world built upon the premise that the individual is more valuable than the state, and that freedom is the key ingredient to the high prosperity of mankind, that equilibrium is highly elusive.
The battle between the state and the individual has been around since before our nation was formed — royalists, democrats and republicans (generic, not specific parties). There are those who believe in the power of one man to rule many, the power of all men to select one man to rule many, and the power of one man to rule himself and himself alone.
We have attempted to find a happy equilibrium, but as we’ve attempted to set a minimal state in place, its inevitable self-devouring nature proved as greedy as every other human government, and it began to expand.
Celebrated novelist Frank Herbert once made the keen observation, that “All government suffer a recurring problem: power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts, but that it is magnetic to the corruptible.”
I do believe that power can corrupt, but I think Frank’s point actually has more bearing on government as we know it — it attracts the kind of people who would abuse it for their own purposes.
The difference between crony corporatism (which is a big-business/government collusion) and the free market is that corporatism consolidates power to a single point, like a flame attracting self-serving moths in the government and corporation, to use that single point of power to self advantage.
They keep this advantage by promising everyone to use their power to help the down-trodden, and yet never actually accomplish it. This system must play favorites, and it will always favor — in one fashion or another — the party which it can manipulate most to perpetuate it’s own position of power.
The Free Market plays no favorites, and everyone is subject to failure. There are no securities you do not make yourself, and if you do not work, or have a relationship with someone who does, you do not eat. That sounds mighty unfair, but life isn’t fair, and every attempt to make it so for one will always make it unfair for another. You cannot take from Peter to pay Paul without disservicing Peter’s ambition and hard work for himself and his own family.