Home > Uncategorized > Free markets are more important to the poor and working stiff than it is to the “rich”.

Free markets are more important to the poor and working stiff than it is to the “rich”.

I agree with Walter Williams on this particular point:

Did Carnegie, Mellon, Rockefeller and Guggenheim start out rich? Andrew Carnegie worked as a bobbin boy, changing spools of thread in a cotton mill 12 hours a day, six days a week, earning $1.20 a week. A young John D. Rockefeller worked as a clerk. Meyer Guggenheim started out as a peddler. Andrew Mellon did have a leg up; his father was a lawyer and banker. Sam Walton milked the family’s cows, bottled the milk and delivered it and newspapers to customers. Richard Sears was a railroad station agent. Alvah Roebuck began work as a watchmaker. Together, they founded Sears, Roebuck and Company in 1893. John Cash Penney (founder of JCPenney department stores) worked for a local dry goods merchant.

It wasn’t just whites who went from rags to riches through open markets; there were a few blacks. Madam C.J. Walker, born Sarah Breedlove, just two years after the end of slavery, managed to build an empire from developing and selling hair products. John H. Johnson founded Johnson Publishing Company, which became an international media and cosmetics empire. There are many modern-day black millionaires who, like other millionaires, black and white, found the route to their fortunes mostly through the open, highly competitive and more free market end of our economy.

Compare that to the regulated sectors:

Restricted, regulated and monopolized markets are especially handicapping to people who are seen as less preferred, latecomers and people with little political clout. For example, owning and operating a taxi is one way out of poverty. It takes little skills and capital. But in most cities, one has to purchase a license costing tens of thousands of dollars. New York City’s taxicab licensing law is particularly egregious, requiring a person, as of May 2007, to pay $600,000 for a license to own and operate one taxicab. Business licensing laws are not racially discriminatory as such, but they have a racially discriminatory effect.

This is absolutely true. When you look at the mostly unregulated technology sectors you see countless new innovations and increased employment growth. However, when you look at the mostly regulated automotive and energy sectors you see stagnation and safety and not much risktaking. Why incur the risk when you will incur the wrath of Congress if something goes wrong?

I only wish people will wake up and come to the realization that regulation is not meant to regulate the “rich”, but is meant to prevent the poor and middle-class from shaking itself loose from an overbearing government.

UPDATE: In a blog post that is somewhat related to my comments above, please read Ed Driscoll’s blog post on the font Helvetica. It is the end result when society, in the quest for “liberty of the mind” ends up instead in conformity and authoritarianly (sic) so.

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