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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Protecting Businesses From Internet Competition

John Stossel describes how the internet has removed middle-men from the marketplace and consumers love it. But those losing business, like realtors and auto dealers, are lobbying the legislature to outlaw this competition in the name of protecting consumers. As usual, businessmen are the last people who want free market capitalism. Like all unions, it is not the consumer who benefits from protectionism. Stossel quotes Adam Smith who got this 230 years ago:

"People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices."

There are reasons consumers may want to pay extra for the services of a realtor or the protections that a local dealer may provide. There are reasons that people shop at Nordstrom's or Target rather than on-line. It is the comsumers choice that should be protected, not anyone's monopoly. Competition drives down costs and creates new job opportunities. And governments should never play favorites in the market. That is not liberty.

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