Can you apply your solution to your own product/story?

Dear X — My article stated that one basic libertarian principle is that most if not all government business regulations are unneeded because market pressures will result in good business behavior and deter bad business behavior.

If you contend that I’m wrong about that being a fundamental libertarian belief then say so and cite your evidence.

When I start selling surgical instruments, self-driving cars, medical products, or insurance policies the government should have established minimum standards to protect my customers. As for ideas about how economies work, people are free to think and read and decide on their own.

You started talking about scarcity. The market as a mechanism to allocate goods and services is an interesting topic, but it has nothing to do with my column which was focused on the myth that the mere existence of a market will automatically protect consumers from bad products and abusive terms of service without the need for government regulation.

Essentially, your response was, “Let’s talk about OTHER libertarian principles.” Again, not the focus of the column I wrote.

As for the costs of consumer protection regulations, those costs are borne by the industry producing those products, and like every other cost of doing business they are factored into the cost of those products. The consumers then get to pick which products to buy based on the prices charged for competing classes of products.

With regard to your argument that people can fix society by picking where they spend their tax money, that’s another expression of the fantasy that most people have the time, inclination, energy and ability to act in their intelligent, rational, informed, logical, self interest with regard to every aspect of their lives.

Most people don’t.

Most people can barely manage their day-to-day lives. The idea that every year 200 million adults are going to pour over the tens of thousands of items in a federal budget and line-by-line allocate their taxes is light years beyond ridiculous.

And even beyond that, how would I, as a taxpayer, force the government to enact clean air legislation? Maybe I could allocate more money to the EPA but I couldn’t make then pass regulations on CO2 or carbon particulates. By directing my tax money to the Treasury Dept. I can’t make them enact new regulations allowing consumers to sue banks for certain credit practices.

On its face your solution is a nonstarter.

BTW, in situations where there are a small number of producers of a vital product the market actually encourages scarcity because it is more profitable to constrict supply and charge a higher price per unit than to expand supply and receive a lower per-unit price.

For details on how this works, see my column: A Pragmatic Look At Market Pricing. Market Pricing Both Efficiently Allocates Scarce Resources And Exacerbates The Scarcity Of Those Same Resources

Here’s an excerpt: “From a public policy point of view we need to be concerned with what works best to promote a useful, productive, and efficient economy and society. Capitalist principals promise profit incentives for entrepreneurs as a means to encourage efficient production and competitive pricing. These goals — preserving the profit incentive while also providing products at the lowest possible prices — are worthy goals for any economy.”