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xxovercastxx says...

Regulation, in my natural selection analogy, is like modern medicine: It can sustain companies that should be dead, making those invested in the company happy but having negative effects on the system as a whole.

When the bailouts were fresh news, there were a lot of cries that the free market didn't work. In truth, the free market was working. Those banks had unsustainable practices and they were going down because of it. Would it have been catastrophic when they failed? Yeah. But the recovery process would have started then and there and any banks still standing would have had good reason not to repeat the others' mistakes. Instead the government propped them up and they are back to fucking us.

The auto industry situation isn't much better. Regulation imposes tariffs on foreign cars that get passed on to us in the price. Why? Because American cars suck ass and can't compete on a level playing field. Even with the deck stacked in their favor, the big 3 tank anyway. The government bails them out because of some misguided sense of national pride. They justify it with talk about lost jobs, but it's all nonsense. The demand for cars doesn't go down because car makers go out of business, people who would have bought from the big 3 just have to buy from someone else now. Toyota already employs more Americans than the big 3 combined. The textile manufacturers see no change in business volume as the other car manufacturers increase production to fill in the gap left by the big 3.

Let them tank. Let the jobs migrate. Let failed companies stand as examples to the rest.

I really feel like people are somewhat spoiled. They're no longer willing to see or endure anything "bad", but the old and sick must die to make way for new life, both in nature and in business, and things can get real ugly when you try to stand in the way of that.

I don't think everyone needs to be professionals at any level of market freedom. Even the most ignorant person knows they're being screwed at some point and there's nothing that says the free market can't contain professional advisers and watchdog groups.

What I think government's biggest role ought to be is enforcing a level of transparency so that we all have legit information to make our decisions on. The FDA requires ingredients to be listed on all food items. Some people don't pay any attention to it, but it's there. I'd like to see that sort of thing everywhere.

In reply to this comment by Crosswords:
If you view free market as a processes like natural selection, then everything counts including regulation. Regulation is simply an adaptation to market conditions by certain segments of a population. It is an ability to exert control on the market while avoiding the volatile, risky and harmful consequences other methods might accrue.

There will always be someone/something trying to control market forces in their favor. If you were to eliminate any regulation you would be eliminating one side's ability to exert control, they would be at the mercy of those who control the resources. So I guess in rebuttal to your argument, we either already have free-market working as intended or it doesn't exist and can't exist because anytime you put in a stipulation that you can't do X you're regulating someone's ability to exert control over the market forces.

As far as consumers go, I'm torn by the desire to see people acting more personally responsible and the opinion that you shouldn't have to be a professional in everything. You just can't compete when you're trying to know everything so you can make the right decisions, against someone who specialize in a specific area. At some point you're going to have to appeal to an expert. Unfortunately we have become so used to appealing to the experts its become increasingly easy for the experts to take advantage of everyone else.

I really think there are numerous systems which can successfully regulate a market but we've got these bits and pieces of several of them that don't work together. The people we've put in charge of this stuff all have such deep emotional attachments to their one economic gospel that they're often unwilling to even honestly discuss things with anyone from a different church.
I can't help but feel that is an exceptionally true statement. Our system of regulations has been cobbled together and broken apart by various ideologues over the years as painful a process it might be I wish we could redo everything in a manner that makes sense for the current market.

xxovercastxx says...

A totally free market runs on the same principals as natural selection. It's totally possible. The question is whether it's desirable. The problem with both is that you have to be willing to deal with some chaos and most people are not willing to.

My own tastes are for a somewhat high degree of market freedom, with with a handful of absolutes protected by regulation. A bill of rights for the market, if you will. I admit, though, that this is closer to a gut feeling than a detailed plan.

A healthy free market requires responsible consumers. I made a comment about this just a couple days ago so I won't rehash it here.

In reply to this comment by Crosswords:
Well many of us don't think there is such a thing as a 'free market'. Not just that there isn't one now, but that the idea of a free market is only possible conceptually. We see it as a chimera, a mythical beast constructed of other animals, that does not exist and cannot be created. So while individual pieces exist, lions, eagles, supply, demand, the combination of these pieces into some self balancing force seems impossible.

So I guess to put it another way when we hear the words free market we think about the human factor, those people actually exerting their control and manipulating market forces and the basic hierarchy for control goes something like this:
1% > next 4% >> government >>>> everyone else.
So when we hear free-market we usually think of the people who can exert the most control.

As for the free market or the 1% giving us child labor laws, that was government regulation in the form of the Fair Labor Standards Act. If you want to call government regulation free-market corrections go ahead.

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