Thursday, November 16, 2006

NO PREFERENCES FOR LOCAL BUSINESSES

The HAL debacle demonstrates the utmost hypocrisy of the Togiola Administration and the Senate. While everyone and their uncle in the ASG were quick to condemn HAL for the consequences (high prices) of limiting competition (foreign airlines), our government wants to create the same devastating conditions for the rest of our economy. In the end, any preference regime that limits foreign competition or favors locals will only hurt consumers.

Isn't it the poor our politicians supposedly care about? Governor Togiola, Senator Moliga and many others wear statistics like the poverty level like a badge of honor when pushing their agendas of raising and creating new taxes, free medical care and price controls for HAL. But nothing, and I repeat nothing, lowers prices and raises the standards of living for the poor more than competition. So why shut the door or raise taxes on foreign competitors?

The argument goes that we should care for local businesspeople because they are Samoan. I grew up knowing some good Samoan people as well as some bad Samoan people, and I know I'm not the only person from American Samoa who's had this experience. How then is it justifiable to have some blanket preference system that limits us consumers from foreign competition just because local businesses are "Samoan"?

Race should never be the standard for any government in making preferences. It's not only morally wrong, it's also discrimination and should be illegal. The best preference in the free market is whoever can provide the lowest price possible, the best service possible or both.

I wonder if Wal-Mart wanted to open up shop in our territory what our self-righteous politicians would say and do then. And I wonder when these politicians who care so much about the poor will start their own charities and foundations or something.

1 Comments:

At 7:20 AM , Blogger Stuart K. Hayashi said...

Hey Tali my fellow free-marketer,

What do you mean that discrimination should be illegal in business?

Suppose a Jewish entrepreneur decides to hire only Jewish people. That would shut me out of the hiring process.

I would disapprove of such discrimination and probably shun that business, but that entrepreneur is not initiating force against anyone else's person or private property when engaging in this discrimination.

Thus, shouldn't a libertarian society allow that entrepreneur freely associate with whomever he wants in his business for any reason (or even no reason at all)?

If this entrepreneur passes up more-qualified employees simply because they aren't Jewish, then other businesses will benefit from hiring those more-qualified employees, and this entrepreneur will be financially penalized.

Shouldn't market forces be allowed to provide people with incentives to refrain from discrimination, rather than for us to police other people's free associations?

Aside from that, your argument reminds me of an excellent editorial by Dr. Harry Binswanger titled " 'Buy American' Is Un-American." In it, Dr. Binswanger explains:

"In purchasing goods, we are expected to view ourselves and the sellers not as individuals, but as units of a nation. We are expected to accept lower quality or more expensive goods in the name of alleged benefits to the national collective.

"Most 'Buy American' advocates are motivated by misplaced patriotism. But for some the motive is a collectivist hostility towards foreigners. This xenophobic attitude is thoroughly un-American; it is plain bigotry.

"Giving preference to American-made products over German or Japanese products is the same injustice as giving preference to products made by whites over those made by blacks. Economic nationalism, like racism, means judging men and their products by the group from which they come, not by merit."

What do you say, Tallyho? ;-)

 

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