Regulation Schmegulation

The number of hurdles to jump before you can legally create value is astounding.  There’s a law at every corner, working to impede the peaceful pursuit of profit.

Highly resourceful or talented people simply find ways around it.  They pivot, contort, or even work to alter the law to achieve their goal.  They devote entire divisions of their companies to overcoming these arbitrary obstacles.  But eventually, they can overcome them.  Some entrepreneurs have an amazingly high risk tolerance, and choose to ignore the laws entirely and provide their products illegally.  Others aren’t willing to risk prison but have the smarts, connections, or wealth to navigate and comply with the labyrinthine legal system.

So what’s the problem with state intervention in the market?  Visionaries can find a way to achieve their vision, laws or not.  The problem isn’t for them.  It’s for everyone else.

People with limited means and average ability suffer.  The barriers are often too much for them to overcome and too risky to ignore.  Their ideas languish.  Each new obstacle sucks away too many resources and leaves them unable to move forward.

Even those who with no particular entrepreneurial vision suffer.  The immense dead-weight loss of all the creators devoting resources to fighting, influencing, or complying with the regulatory state destroys value for all.  I’ve met business owners who devote ten or twenty percent of company resources to state created problems, meaning ten or twenty percent fewer resources are available to solve customer problems and make everyone better off.

People think economic regulations hamper big businesses and rich people.  The opposite is true.  If an idea is big enough and an entrepreneur driven and resourceful enough, it can come to fruition, despite the state.  But there’s no way to comprehend just how many smaller ventures never got started, or how much more wealth would be created for all if the ham-fist of regulation were entirely replaced by the invisible hand of the market.

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