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Regulations are down but not out

By Darren Nelson - posted Wednesday, 6 June 2018

A well-known type of private coercion is the vague but ominous-sounding economic power. But economic power is simply the right under freedom to refuse to make an exchange. Every man has, and should have, this power. If we choose the economic power concept, we must employ violence to combat [it]. Such a society would be truly a war of all against all.

Chapter 4 entitled "Few regulations are actually intended to protect consumers", for example, quotes Dominick Armentano in the following terms:

It is undeniably true that the antitrust laws have often been employed against innovative business organizations that have expanded output and lowered prices. Antitrust regulation is [yet] just another historical example of protectionist rent-seeking legislation.


Chapter 5 entitled "Regulations kill", for example, quotes David Friedman again:

Caution kills. Which men and women and children make up [those] killed by caution no one can ever know; their deaths are statistics, not headlines. A statistical corpse is just as real as a thalidomide baby on the front page; it is just less visible. Visibility is an important element in politics and the FDA is a political institution. Given a choice between one tragedy on the front page and ten in the medical statistics, it inevitably prefers the latter. It thus has a strong bias in favor of overregulating, of stifling medical progress in the name of caution.

If you remember nothing else from this article, my book or about regulation in general, then please remember the term of "Baptists and Bootleggers". This is explained, in conclusion to this article, in the Introduction chapter of Ten Principles, thusly:

There is usually some combination of true believers and special interests to the origination, continuation and growth of regulation. This was colorfully dubbed by Bruce Yandle as the Baptists and Bootleggers phenomenon. Like the Bootleggers in the early-20th-century South, who benefited from laws that banned the sale of liquor on Sundays, special interests need to justify their efforts to obtain special favors with public interest stories. In the case of Sunday liquor sales, the Baptists, who supported the Sunday ban on moral grounds, provided that public interest support.

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This article was first published by Townhall.

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About the Author

Darren Brady Nelson is an Austrian School economist, conservative-libertarian and Christian who lives in Brisbane Queensland but is originally from Milwaukee Wisconsin.

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