Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Old hat. Long in the tooth. Creaky as an outhouse door.

These are just some of the expressions that apply to how our cities, states and metro areas are run — by ancient principles that do not serve the common good.

Last weekend I wrote about the ongoing revolution in transit, the peer-to-peer online app services offered by Uber, Lyft and the like. These ride-sharing services allow normal folks to give and receive car rides at great convenience.

They blow mass transit “out of the water” and throw taxi service sideways. Super-convenient, they make it cheap and safe for people to co-operate in new and productive ways.

Art Carden, at EconLog, notes the “social waste” that governments add to the system. While the new app-based services provide true solutions to the high transaction costs of negotiating among many people, governments give us squabbles: “the battle over the rules governing the conditions under which people will be allowed to do certain things is pure social waste,” Carden argues. “The social waste is reflected in the resources consumed in the fight over the rules.”

We’ve gotta have rules, of course. But they needn’t require micromanagement, massive restrictions, or high taxes.

The new era will be run (if allowed) on the basis of convenient co-operation, transaction costs reduced by communications technology.

The old era that still rules the roost runs on clunky old ideas that Carden rightly calls “mercantilism,” the political ideology that Adam Smith argued against . . . in 1776.

Government should undergird free markets, not intrude and dominate by licensing near-monopolies.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. Rick says:

    and don’t forget drones. drone delivery dead ahead for floral, pizza, amazon type merchandise unless government continues to need to micromanage it. and there are concerns like cluttering airspace, drones falling out of the sky onto people’s heads, but i’ve already read where one of the movie studios moved movie production overseas because they couldn’t get permits to film overhead here.

    OT: AND NOW we learn the CIA has spied on Congress! my main fear is that the NSA, CIA, IRS will own the government by power of blackmail against those Congresspeople who don’t support their programs. They may already have control which would explain why the budget never goes down, EVER, despite a huge pool of stupid and ineffective programs that could easily be cut.

  2. iheartdagney says:

    Rick: It is speculated very much that the NSA spying has struck gold on John Roberts. So, we had a Supreme Court Justice re-writing the law to make it “constitutional” enough to some. What other explanation can there be for his actions leading up to that onerous ruling?

    Back to Paul’s subject and the concluding line….”Government should undergird free markets, not intrude and dominate by licensing near-monopolies.” It occurs to me that if the Constitution was followed, we wouldn’t have any of these crony bureaucracies stifling our lives and businesses. The Constitution was written as a restriction on GOVERNMENT, not on the people. If every person in our country knew that and enforced that, we would have a very different country. Of course, we need to first repeal some of the amendments that the people were hood-winked into ratifying in 1913!

  3. Drik says:

    “Common good” is a euphemism for redistribution from the productive.

  4. Rick says:

    dagney, would love to read anything you might have on that. i’ll google it but post it up if you have something.

    update on one of your old posts, paul. reuters is saying the chokehold death of Eric Garner was just ruled a homicide.

  5. iheartdagney says:

    Rick: This is the first such speculation that I found on Google…

    There are many such articles discussing the possibility below that one.

  6. Dave Shaver Sr. says:

    This is giving taxi companies fits. But it is having an even more detrimental effect on the taxi drivers. They have to pay exorbitant rents and fees for their taxis and then face difficult competition in many ways. The treatment they often receive from their customers, lousy tipping, bullying by the companys and other drivers. For many of they this is only employment they can find and are barely able to provide for their families. Think about it.

  7. iheartdagney says:

    The taxi drivers can go work for Uber or Lyft. And, keep 80% of their fares and 100% of their tips. Think about that.

  8. Drik says:

    Rules are how politicians protect the large companies from competition while ensuring themselves a percentage of the profits.
    The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants._Camus

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