Saturday, July 28, 2007

THE ONLY WAY TO MAKE A PROFIT

I have heard the point that businesses, if left unchecked or unregulated, would devour one another up, or something similarly devastating, because all they were after is profits. Actually, it's only the murderers, thieves, crooks, liars and cheaters who would gobble up everything in their path if left unchecked by a government protective of individual rights. In a world where no one, not even the government, has the power to steal, lie, cheat or force an individual out of his right to his life and his property, the only way to make a profit is to trade value for value.

Businesses have no power over their fellow citizens. They cannot choose what we buy nor dictate to us what we may sell. They cannot tell us what styles of clothes to wear, what kind of food we like to eat, or what types of music we love to listen to. Businesses can only offer choices to those with whom they wish to trade based on what we do or do not like, want or need.

There are, however, plenty of pseudo-businesses who lobby the government to do exactly what I described above. Under the guises of "public good", "unfair competition", "level-playing fields" and "foreign influxes", for-profit entities collaborate with politicians to, when it comes down to it, tell us what and from whom we can and can not buy. They push legislation to ban imports, create government mandates on how one may manufacture a product to favor their own enterprises or what type of services are allowable or required by law to stifle their competitors, and earmark taxpayer dollars to subsidize their ventures. The last of which limits the choices of the individual by taking his dollar from him through some tax and determining for him where and for whom his $$$ will be spent. Not to mention the slice the government itself gets from his dollar for the trouble of pointing the gun, taking the tax and earmarking it.

Now the methods I described above are legitimate powers of government. Banning imports, mandates and the use of taxpayer dollars, but only in the name of the security of our individual rights to life, liberty and property in the absence of self-regulation on the part of the private sector. Beyond our security, however, these governmental functions often become the means one person, group or entity uses to live at the expense of another's life, property or liberty.

When government loses its focus on securing individual rights equally under the law, that is when businesses and the people really begin to devour one another in the pursuit of profits, wealth or glory. When men don't trade value for value in the pursuit of profits but accumulate wealth by the means of a gun, then it's no longer about profit making but who can get over who first.

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