WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
by Ki Vick
The State would have you believe that its definitions of reality are the truth. It has twisted our minds so much, that things that we think of as “common sense”, when looked at objectively are stunning in their fallacy.
I’m going to talk about regulations today. When we go back to events such as the BP oil spill last year, the common outcry is for the government to “do something” about these businesses that run amok. Most often that “do something” includes making more regulations. If you ask most people the simple question of “do government regulations make businesses more accountable, or less accountable?” the answer is “more accountable!” (often said with a sigh, or eye rolling, to indicate that you’re a simpleton for even asking such an obvious question).
And yet, I do ask the question. Does government regulation make business more accountable? I find the answer to be interesting, if one takes the time to really think the logic through. This particular question comes up often in statist arguments as to why we need the State. They proudly pull this argument out of their pocket, and flourish it about, deafly tuning out any answers you may come up with, because clearly you can’t answer this question. They’ve got you. Common sense says that they’re right. Common sense says that businesses are evil, and will do only that which they are forced to do.
Common sense is wrong. And I can prove it. I’m going to use an example of how the State has lowered standards for an industry through strict regulations. We should begin by looking at buildings built in the 1700’s and 1800’s. I can do this pretty easily, as there are farmhouses and city buildings dating back to the 1800’s all around me here in southwestern Ohio. If you want to look at buildings built in the 1700’s, you must travel further east, to New York, Boston, and Virginia. This argument is bolstered further by looking at buildings and structures in Europe, father back in history. But we’ll stick with homes built in the 1800’s.
These homes are sturdy. Built with brick, and large beams. These homes stand the test of time. They have wide, sweeping patios and scrollwork on the siding. They are built solidly, and have intricate design work. They are marvels of form and function. And they had no “code” to be built to.
Contrast them to homes built today. I had a boyfriend a while ago who was an electrician and contractor. He would laugh anytime someone asked him if he would rather buy a new home or an old home. He would say, “I’ve seen how they build new homes. I’d never buy one of those pieces of junk.” New homes are built to a government mandated code. This is not a good thing.
If there is no enforced code, then contractors set the code. As a consumer, you decide how much you want to pay, and what you want to get for your money. If contractor Bob has a reputation for doing lackluster work, then you might want to choose contractor Dave, who has a reputation for being more competent. As a consumer, you are free to choose. If you want a long-standing building, you are free to choose contractor Dave, but if you are looking for something cheap and that only has to last a season or two, you can feel free to choose contractor Bob. Regardless, your building will be built to your code, not the code of a government.
However, freedom aside, enforced regulations don’t just make the poor contractor raise his standard (and prices). It doesn’t just affect whether your shed now has to be built to standards ridiculously high for it’s purpose, but it also makes contractor Dave lower his standards. He doesn’t have to work to the highest level now. He only has to do the minimum to pass code. Consumers will want their product to be “up to code” without realizing that “to code” is the MINIMUM. So now, instead of choosing contractor Dave, whose work is above code, they choose contractor Bob, whose work is “up to code” because contractor Bob is cheaper, and “up to code” means it’s safe, right?
So now contractor Dave has to lower his standards to compete with contractor Bob. Instead of using the best products and having a higher price, he now also goes just to code, and prices competitively to Bob. So now we have Dave, the former good contractor, lowering his standards, and Bob, the former bad contractor, raising his standards. Right? Not quite.
See, contractor Bob is never going to be a better contractor. Forcing him to work “to code” is just giving him a minimum he can work to. All he has to do is pass inspection. And that’s pretty easy to do. It also gives him legal protection. If his shoddy work falls apart in two years it’s not his fault, he made it to code.
Having government regulations does not raise business practices. It helps shoddy businesses, while punishing businesses that would have normally had high standards. If you want to have a business strive for greatness, remove the minimum requirements. That puts the accountability back onto the business and the consumer, and out of the government’s hands.
Coyote Vick is a staff writer at Bad Quaker Dot Com
More by Coyote Vick can be found at crapimanadult.blogspot.com