Ironically, we don’t talk enough about the things that are most valuable and precious. By not talking about it, we take it for granted and fail to protect it. We may even support ideas that erode what is far more precious.
Freedom is one of those things. There is so much to be said about freedom, but today I’ll talk about free markets. I am by no means the most eloquent speaker on the subject, but I have lots of experience running dozens of companies for decades, and observing hundreds more close up.
When markets are free for anyone to compete in, entrepreneurs start companies to provide products and services that people freely trade their hard-earned money for. They are saying “my life will be better if I buy your product or service for the price you are charging”, so they buy it.
Businesses have to compete with each other. They are all trying to be the best choice for the consumer (that’s you and me) so they can sell their stuff. The consumer is the judge over who wins and who loses. If the consumer loves one company, likes another and does not like a third, the results for the respective companies will show accordingly. The losing company may go out of business, which is good for the consumer. Or they may innovate – providing a better product or a cheaper one, which is good for the consumer. Competition means the consumer wins.
This is why we have a greater standard of living today. No government made this happen. It was the action of millions of businesses freely competing with each other, with many providing better products and service to other businesses so they could give greater value to the consumer and/or a cheaper price. Today, you can get incredible things for a weeks worth of wages – far more than you could in the past.
Now let’s see how we can mess it up – how we make a free market less free. Let’s say we tax a service – the price of it goes up. That’s less free.
Let’s say an industry lobbies for licensing to protect others from coming into the business, because they do NOT want competition. This makes prices go up, not only because of the licensing fees but more so because the license (test, filing, apprenticeship, approvals, red tape, etc.) causes an artificial shortage of competitors. So the ones that are there can raise their prices because their market is not free, but partially protected.
Let’s say the contractor you have hired to do work on your home has to pull a building permit for work they do on your house, but the town building department makes him jump through all kinds of hoops and red tape and they sit on the application for 8 weeks. This is another example of a market that is constricted – the consumer (you, me) will suffer and costs will go up.
Let’s say a job is put out to bid by a government and they say it can only go to a union company. This is not free. Costs will go up and consumers will suffer.
Let’s say there are rules that you have to buy (or cannot buy) parts from a given place or company – this is not free and costs will go up.
Let’s say there are all kinds of unnecessary rules and regulations to follow – this is not free and consumers will suffer.
We see this stuff in business all day every day. Sure we need some rules, but bureaucrats and administrators who care little for the costs and distortions they create, often go too far, and slowly, month by month, we lose our freedom and ability to operate in free markets – the exact thing that got us here in the first place.
The evidence is clear. Every country in the world where you go where there is excessive control of markets, is one where the people do not do well.
Will you be a voice to protect freedom in commerce and elsewhere?