Businesses are greedy. They want our money.
So what do the politicians and bureaucrats do? They set "standards." I wish they'd stop.
That's what my syndicated column is about this week:
It took me too long to understand that business's desire for profit is a good thing. To get our money, businesses -- if they can't look to the government for favors -- need to give us what we want. Then they must make continuous improvements and do it better than the competition does.
That competition is enough to protect consumers. But that's not intuitive. As I write in my new book, "No, They Can't: Why Government Fails -- but Individuals Succeed," it's intuitive to assume that competition isn't really consumer protection and that experts at the FDA, FTC, DEA, FCC, CPSC, OSHA and so on must protect us. These experts consult "responsible" businessmen for advice on creating rules to make sure businesses meets minimum "standards."
Unfortunately, this standardization stops innovation.
We are imprinted to be wary of newcomers, strangers. Newcomers by definition are less experienced. Maybe they'll do something unsafe or dishonest! We don't want government to stop them from doing business -- we just want consumers protected! Governments claim to do that by licensing businesses.
People like the idea of licensing. We license drivers. We license dogs. It seems prudent. People naively think this government seal of approval makes us safer.
This naivete is used to justify all sorts of rules that kill competition.
The rest of my column here.