Haggling about the price


Haggling about the price

My post about the complexities government adds to life and the free market brought a comment:

Of course the most powerful won’t play this silly "free" market game.
They use what less there is of government to establish and maintain
monopolies. Obvious to anyone who studies the U.S. in the late 19th
century. But even if they didn’t, when everything is for sale then
nothing has any value.

You can read the entire post here.

I"m not sure I understand you comment. The railroads were big in the late 19th century but if they were a monopoly, it was the government that created them.  Banks — no monopoly there. In the 19th century there were many daily newspapers in each city. There are certain businesses that lend themselves to monopoly, however most people describe "success" as monopoly. A company grows large and dominates a market (can you say Microsoft) and people yell monopoly.

Virtually all social, educational, cultural, and lifestyle advancement has been made because of the "silly free market game."  The renaissance, for instance, flourished when the city states used commerce and a classic free market to generate wealth and then used that wealth to provide for the arts.

Gutenberg created movable type so he could more quickly, efficiently, and dare I say it, more economically produce printed word. Transistors were invented at Bell Labs, not a government think tank. The great artists of yesterday, and those of today, survive on the largess of patrons who created wealth using the free market. Bill Gates billions, that are now being pointed toward the less fortunate, weren’t stolen from the masses, but exchanged for products and services, in a "free" market.

Reagan didn’t destroy the USSR by attacking and killing them. he simply used the free market to spend them into oblivion. He knew that a non free market system couldn’t survive against a free one.

Look at all the countries around the world that are suffering (the third world, for instance), and in virtually every case, the rules of the free market are not in effect. The government has stopped them. The economic sickness of Europe is due primarily to government intervention in the marketplace. The success of Ireland and and the UK began when the government began to back off its controls of the economy and free it up.

Some industries need to have a large market share simply to pay for their tremendous infrastructure. The gasoline companies are an example.  In some cases, prices are artificially high because the government makes it so — Like agriculture, pharmaceuticals, and again the gasoline industry.

However the government also creates monopolies — can you say USPS, the telephone system in the US in the first 3/4 of the 20th century, railroads, unions, utilities and the like.

Your last sentence is curious — you would understand if I said that the concept is foreign.  Its the fact that things can be bought that give them monetary value. If they don’t have monetary value, then the sentimental value is priceless.

It brings to mind the exchange attributed to Winston Churchill and a socialite:

    Churchill: Madam, would you sleep with me for five million pounds?

    Socialite: My goodness, Mr. Churchill… Well, I suppose… we would have to discuss terms, of course…

    Churchill: Would you sleep with me for five pounds?

    Socialite: Mr. Churchill, what kind of woman do you think I am?!

    Churchill: Madam, we’ve already established what kind of woman you are. Now we are simply haggling about the price.


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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