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New York’s Taxi Cartel Is Collapsing. Now They Want a Bailout. Tell Them to Stick It.

The free market: best anti-monopoly weapon ever developed.

“In New York, we are seeing a collapse as inexorable as the fall of the Soviet Union itself.”

Jeffery A. Tuckerjeff writes: An age-old rap against free markets is that they give rise to monopolies that use their power to exploit consumers, crush upstarts, and stifle innovation. It was this perception that led to “trust busting” a century ago, and continues to drive the monopoly-hunting policy at the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department.

No more standing in lines on corners or being forced to split fares. You can stay in the coffee shop until you are notified that your car is there.”

But if you look around at the real world, you find something different. The actually existing monopolies that do these bad things are created not by markets but by government policy. Think of sectors like education, mail, courts, money, or municipal taxis, and you find a reality that is the opposite of the caricature: public policy creates monopolies while markets bust them.

For generations, economists and some political figures have been trying to bring competition to these sectors, but with limited success. The case of taxis makes the point.

“Think of sectors like education, mail, courts, money, or municipal taxis, and you find a reality that is the opposite of the caricature: public policy creates monopolies while markets bust them.”

There is no way to justify the policies that keep these cartels protected. And yet they persist — or, at least, they have persisted until very recently.

Taxi-Driver-poster

“In less than one year, we’ve seen the astonishing effects. Not only has the price of taxi medallions fallen dramatically from a peak of $1 million, it’s not even clear that there is a market remaining at all for these permits.”

In New York, we are seeing a collapse as inexorable as the fall of the Soviet Union itself. The app economy introduced competition in a41eQn3GP4ZL._SL250_ surreptitious way. It invited people to sign up to drive people here and there and get paid for it. No more standing in lines on corners or being forced to split fares. You can stay in the coffee shop until you are notified that your car is there.

[Order Jeffrey’s book “Bit by Bit: How P2P Is Freeing the World” from Amazon.com]

In less than one year, we’ve seen the astonishing effects. Not only has the price of taxi medallions fallen dramatically from a peak of $1 million, it’s not even clear that there is a market remaining at all for these permits. Read the rest of this entry »

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Screw Progressives: Restore Classical Liberalism

Screw Progressives: Restore Classical Liberalism

Yes, A Democrat President of the United States really said that


Medieval Liberals

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Victor Davis Hanson writes: A classical liberal was characteristically guided by disinterested logic and reason. He was open to gradual changes in society that were frowned upon by traditionalists in lockstep adherence to custom and protocol. The eight-hour work day, civil rights, and food- and drug-safety laws all grew out of classically liberal views. Government could press for moderate changes in the way society worked, within a conservative framework of revering the past, in order to pave the way for equality of opportunity in a safe and sane environment.

Among elite liberals today, all too few are of this classical mold — guided by reason and empirical observation. By far the majority are medieval and reactionary. By medieval I mean that they adhere to accepted doctrine — in this case, the progressive doctrine of always finding solutions in larger government and more taxes — despite all the evidence to the contrary. The irony is that they project just such ideological blinkers onto their conservative opponents.

Reactionary is a good adjective as well, since notions of wealth and poverty are frozen in amber around 1965, as if the technological revolution never took place and the federal welfare state hadn’t been erected — as if today’s poor were the emaciated Joads, rather than struggling with inordinate rates of obesity and diabetes, in air-conditioned apartments replete with big-screen TVs, and owning cell phones with more computing power than was available to the wealthy as recently as the 1980s. Flash-mobbing sneaker stores is more common than storming Costcos for bags of rice and flour. Read the rest of this entry »


Towards a New Dictionary of Received Ideas

First-rate  by Ace.  (you won’t want to miss the part about the ‘milking bell’)

La Dictionairre d’Idees Reçues

La Dictionairre d’Idees Reçues

Ann Althouse writes of Flaubert‘s La Dictionairre d’Idees Reçues, or “Dictionary of Received Ideas.” A comical, cynical spoof of the Thoughtless Thoughts people are infected with.

This is what I think Jonah Goldberg was talking about in his Tyranny of Clichés.

It’s these automatic thoughts that cling to the brain like parasites that destroy thinking and reason. Rather like, and I don’t think could possibly be a cliché, alien Body Thetans of idiocy that are interfering with the lucid functioning of our own spirit Thetan.

Amusing Ourselves to Death briefly noted the long, long history of Thoughtless Thoughts. In pre-literate cultures, when all knowledge was stored in human memory and recalled by verbal trope, it was useful to have cute and memorable aphorisms, appellations and other received wisdom in the form of canned cliché. Thus all dawns reflexively had rosy fingers, and were you to dig into the ground, you’d find some money rooting all evils.

Although we’ve long since gained the capacity to write and read, we’ve kept many of the Automatic Associations we’ve been taught.

Read the rest of this entry »