The Biggest Threat to Free Markets are Successful Entrepreneurs

Everybody loves freedom so long as it’s the right kind of freedom. Neoconservatives love freedom right up until somebody wants to marry somebody of the same sex. Neoliberals love freedom right up until somebody wants to buy a firearm. Statist libertarians love freedom right up until somebody wants to opt out of paying taxes to fund the military national defense force appointed by the duly elected representatives of the Very Small Government. Likewise, a lot of people love free markets until they fail to serve the market. When that happens those people turn into big government twats:

With competition so fierce and profit margins so small — roughly 2.7 per cent on average — the role Quebec’s highly interventionist government should play in one of the province’s most dynamic industries remains a source of contention.

The debate is not new and was rekindled earlier this year when Carlos Ferreira, owner of a well-known eatery, said Montreal should impose quotas in neighbourhoods to limit competition and help struggling legacy restaurants stay in business.

“I don’t believe in the free market anymore,” Ferreira said at the time. “We have to protect the good restaurants.”

And by “good restaurants” he means his restaurant.

Although I won’t claim that Quebec’s restaurant scene is currently a free market, the market was free enough that the barrier to entry was low enough for Ferreira to enter. Now, like most established corporations, he’s finding that the pressures of continuously appealing to the market tiresome and wants the State to step in to protect him and his interest at the expense of everybody.

I say the expense of everybody because as things currently stand consumers have all of the power. If a restaurant starts serving shitty food consumers can go to a competing restaurant. New restaurants have to attract customers and that means appealing to consumers. What Ferreira wants is to restrict those consumer’s choices and therefore limit the power they have.

This is nothing new. The biggest threat to free markets are successful entrepreneurs because they’re the ones that throw money at politicians to get laws passed that hinder their competitors.

One thought on “The Biggest Threat to Free Markets are Successful Entrepreneurs”

  1. You’ve fingered a valid example of a real problem, but I’m not sure successful entrepreneurs are the biggest threat to free markets. ANYONE who thinks he can get his hands on the levers of power is a threat. A truly successful businessman wouldn’t feel the need, compared to the rest of society, I would think. Bill Gates, for example, ran Microsoft without lobbying for government favors for many years, until he saw he was losing out to others who did. Does the fact that he changed over make him part of the problem, or is he merely acting rationally as any sane man would? The real problem, I think, is the existence of government favors to be passed out.

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