Monday, June 17, 2013

Free Market Advancement Trumps Government Stagnation

     In the areas of our daily lives that have become more functional and less expensive over the last thirty years, compared to the areas that have not, there is one common thread that weaves the tapestry of truth in this regard. Items such as mobile phones, that have become less expensive and more functional, have been exclusively developed in the free  market, while ones such as education have been entirely within the purview of government control. Cell phones (called mobile phones then) in the 1980s were big, expensive and had limited abilities. Today, everyone has cell phones that provide services of which those wealthy enough in the 1980s to own their predecessors would not have even dreamed.
     Gordon Geeco, the character Michael Douglas played in the 1984 movie Wall Street, said that greed, for lack of better term, is good. Well there is a better term that describes the function of wealth creation in America, and it is self-interest. Self-interest is different from greed in as much as it creates opportunity for all to participate in the wealth created by it, greed does not. And wealth creation, as Milton Friedman said, is the best remedy to poverty. The Leftist policy of wealth redistribution and making the poor more dependent on government, has only served the political ambitions of greedy politicians while they have perpetuated poverty among those who are the intended beneficiaries of such policies.
     In the free market, private enterprise is driven by the need to make a profit resulting from fulfilling the needs of customers and/or clients. This striving for profit fuels the engine of innovation and improves products and services in a relatively short span of time. Government is under no requirement to make a profit because they have the ability to fund their activities by confiscating money through taxes. In this type of situation, in all but the essential functions of government like national security, the government behemoth does not have to please customers or clients, and therefore does not advance innovation or development of its products and services.
     One of the most visible and blatant examples that illustrates my thesis is the Internet. The United States military developed the Internet in the 1960s as a way for information to be shared more easily among researchers. The government fought opening up the Internet for commercialization until the late 1980s. During that twenty plus year period, there was little to no advancement in Internet technology. In the ensuing twenty plus year period since the free market has controlled the Internet, the advancements have been staggering. The Internet has developed from a purely text-based U.S. facility used by very few people, into a world-wide service over which one can watch videos on hand-held devices that operate at speeds 2 to 3 thousand times faster than the old government-run Internet.
     It is the arrogant hubris of those in government that informs the misguided principle that academics, lawyers and bureaucrats can improve the lives of citizens and advance the cause of the human condition better than the free market. Even in the arena of charity, the private sector does a more efficient job of serving the poor than does government. Advancement, therefore, in most areas of society depends on a thriving free market and a stagnant federal government, only the opposite is ensured by the Leftist ideology which has gripped this nation in recent years. 

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