“There’s No Such Thing as an Unregulated Market”

That’s the title of my piece just published in The Freeman online. The subtitle: “It’s a choice between regulation by legislators or by consumers.” Here’s a slice:

We want the aims of regulation — regularity and predictability in markets, decent quality and reasonable prices for the goods and services we buy — and thinking that government regulation is the only way to get those, we accept a vast array of unnecessary, wrongheaded, and usually counterproductive mandates and restrictions.

But government regulation is not the only kind of regulation.

To regulate is to make regular and orderly, to hold to a standard, to control according to rule, as a thermostat regulates the temperature in a building. Market forces do this continually as competing businesses offer what they hope will be a good value, then customers choose among the various offerings, then the competing businesses react to customers’ choices. That process is the market’s regulator.

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One and Only “Trigger Warning”

The following just arrived in my mailbox from FIRE (The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education), which I admire and support: Today, FIRE presents a timely new video featuring Brookings Institution senior fellow Jonathan Rauch. In the wake of last week’s horrifying attack on Charlie Hebdo in France, Americans and Europeans are rediscovering the importance of unfetteredContinue Reading

Of Fiat Currencies and Central Banks

A grad student in Italy just asked me to suggest topics for research in Money and Banking. Here is my reply: Dear Alessandro, I think the most important topic in Money and Banking in our time is how to replace fiat currencies and central banks with some kind of base money that cannot be debasedContinue Reading

What’s Holding Up Economic Growth

Three articles in last weekend’s Wall Street Journal offer a sampler of the kinds of government intervention that are hampering the world economy, from South Africa to Detroit to France. On page A8 a headline declares, “Blackouts Stall South Africa Economy.” Why doesn’t South Africa have dependable power? Because the country’s power provider is aContinue Reading

The Coolest Thing About Uber

A letter I wrote the Wall Street Journal recently, criticizing the authoritarian flavor of one of its columns, was picked up by The Freeman. A slice: Here’s what it takes to make Uber a success, apparently: Enter new markets without asking regulators for permission, then build enough of a customer base to make classifying the service asContinue Reading

Uber Against Racial Profiling

In my latest article in The Freeman, I look at another instance of the superiority of regulation by market forces to regulation by government. A slice: Uber is regulated by market forces, and market forces regulate far more effectively than the DC taxi commission does. Uber gets a cut of every fare, so the more fares it arranges, theContinue Reading

How Free-Market Internet Will Protect the Little Guy

An earlier post gave a rights-based reason to oppose “Net Neutrality”: Internet service providers own their fiber optic cables, switches, and so on, the physical infrastructure of the Internet. It’s their property. Their rights to their own should be respected. Not everyone is persuaded by rights-based reasoning. Dan H., for example, discussing the post onContinue Reading

All We Need to Know About “Net Neutrality”

In thinking about the controversy over “net neutrality” that President Obama stirred up on Monday, we should keep in mind that private ownership and freedom of exchange are the foundations of a free society. Internet service providers own their fiber optic cables, switches, and so on, the physical infrastructure of the Internet. It’s their property.Continue Reading

Can the Oil-Export Ban

Here is a letter to The Wall Street Journal: To the editor: Why do we have a taint of Soviet-style central planning in the American oil industry? Americans’ high standard of living, not to mention our status as a free society, results from private ownership rights and freedom of exchange. So why should American oilContinue Reading

Two Minutes, $9.99

Yesterday afternoon I got Facebook notification of a new post by my friend Clark Neily. On clicking “View Post,” I found Clark’s enthusiastic recommendation of The Martian. The embedded link took me to Amazon’s page for the Kindle edition of the book, where I clicked “Buy now with 1-Click.” Immediately I received notification that AmazonContinue Reading

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