Monday, September 26, 2005

The Free Marketeers

Pete Ashdown, the man that will (hopefully) unseat Orrin Hatch, has a lot of great journal entries and position papers on his website. One that was posted about a week ago really caught my eye. You can read it here. It's as good an indictment of the "Free" Market as anyone has written.

I think that guys who believe the free market will solve all of our problems (John Stossel and his ilk) don't have a realistic view of the world. Look at FDR's regulations on Utilitiy Companies. They had price caps and weren't allowed to contribute to political campaigns. From the time of the Great Depression until the time Dubya lifted all of those regulations, the Utility company was still evil, but was significantly less effective at changing pubilc policy or price-gouging. Enter Enron and all the other buddies of Bush, The Free Marketeers, and you get prices rising up 1000% in a day and the poor getting thier heat turned off. The Free Market really worked on that one.

And look at the one industry that has had a 100% deregulated free market forever: Trial Lawyers. Not a person of any political stripe will tell you that they aren't running amok.

I just think it's time we put the Free Market Capitalism to sleep like the rabid dog it is, once and for all.


Smack_Adams said...

If you believe that "trial lawyers" (code for personal injury lawyers) have run amok, then you have been misled. While the mass-tort claims have, in certain instances been more profitable for the attorneys than their clients (a problem, to be sure), the greater good brought about by these claims helps disperse the unpleasant smell of some "trial lawyers". Cars have seatbelts because of greedy lawyers. Hairdryers shut off upon contact with water because of greedy lawyers. You may consider these people as an unregulated market"; I consider them market regulators in the absence of self- or governmental regulation.

Kevin said...

I just want to make sure I've got Mr. Ashdown's article right. A political candidate is in favor of a massively subsidized program that would give his company a major competitive advantage in the market by externalizing infrastructure costs and risks onto the public. This is good because he is a Democratic and speaks the convoluted new speak.

The free market is bad because Enron, a company that reaped massive profits with a scheme that externalized risks and infrastructure costs onto the public failed.

The cartoon you have attached to the post is great. It shows the distorted view that the new speak world has of the free market.

Personally, I wish we would put new speak to bed and get back to the system that honored rather than distained individual freedoms.

Bryan said...

I think the problem with trial lawyers is the degree of friviloty in their lawsuits, the exorbitant cost of their services and the drain they put on businesses and individuals. I mean, we do need Lawyers, but I think the system as is, is broken.

As far as a system that disdains personal freedoms, I think you're right insofar as personal freedoms are being infringed upon, but I would bet that our definitions of the causes of it would differ greatly.

And the only reason I attached this cartoon was because it was about all I could find on google image search that was even halfway relevant. I don't think it represents Free Market Capitalism, I think it's a better representation of crony-ism.

Pete Ashdown said...

"Massive competitive advantage" in the same way that trucking companies have a competitive advantage over each other because the state finances the roads. In other words, there is none, the playing field is level. Any data provider can participate in UTOPIA without having to march their customers past the competition as what is done with DSL.

There is also no "massively subsidized program" because its being financed with municiple bonds guaranteed by taxes. Since the take rate in UTOPIA cities has already been incredible, that guarantee will never kick in.

Yes, you got it wrong. Writing it off as "newspeak" put you further in the hole.