Although most people accept that companies are concerned with pursuing profits, this lawsuit nevertheless gives rise to numerous complaints. In two previous posts, I sketched out thirty profit-seeking objections, and tried to counter them in turn. In this article, I offer ten other complaints that allegedly result from the pursuit of profit.
See what you think of this next and final set, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!
31- Play on consumer emotions
See my answer to point 20. Consider also the constant play by politicians on the emotions of voters (“Do it for the kids!”, “Hope and change!”, “Make America great again!”).
32- Slow progress on new technologies and refusal to embrace change
A thicket of government regulations slows the progress of new technologies. As economist Michael Mandel wrote:
(I use) the metaphor of “throwing pebbles in a stream” to describe the effect of regulation on innovation. No amount of regulation or regulatory activity alone is going to discourage innovation, just as no stone is going to affect a flow. But if you throw enough small pebbles, you can stem the stream. Similarly, add enough rules, regulations, and requirements, and suddenly innovation starts to look a lot less appealing.
33- Corruption of public officials
Who is more to blame, a businessman who offers a bribe to a public official or the public official who accepts it? As the power of government increases and regulations permeate all aspects of life, the incentive to bribe or otherwise influence public officials increases.
34- Inadequate public disclosure
The government dictates the degree to which companies are required to disclose information to the public.
35- Outsourcing Harmful Costs
Companies can only do this with the active participation of the government. Perhaps the most glaring example is that of slavery:
- Federal troops were used to quell potential and actual slave revolts.
- While some slave patrols were funded by slave owners, others were funded by county or state governments through general taxation.
- The Fugitive Slave Acts of 1793 and 1850 required citizens – whether in the North or the South – to assist in the capture of runaway slaves.
- From 1836 to 1844, Southern representatives were able to maintain a “gag rule” against the reading of anti-slavery petitions in the United States House of Representatives.
- From 1828 until the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, American postmasters prevented the delivery of “incendiary publications” (i.e., anti-slavery pamphlets) through the mail.
- Local government officials often stood idly by as pro-slavery Southerners violently suppressed anti-slavery voices. Newspaper offices and presses were destroyed, houses were burned down, people were tarred and feathered and driven out of town on rails, and some were murdered.
- Southern states passed laws prohibiting teaching slaves to read. Literate slaves could read anti-slavery pamphlets, forge passes, and coordinate revolts.
- Government at all levels provided legal support for slavery by passing and enforcing laws that protected slaveholders and the institution of slavery, punished runaways, and criminalized efforts to abolish slavery. slavery.
36- Increase in political power
Corporations have no political power that the government has not ceded to them.
37- Uncertainty of economic markets
Uncertainty, like risk, is part of life. As benjamin franklin once joked, nothing is certain but death and taxes. That said, boom and bust cycles are usually dictated by government monetary policies. The expansion of the money supply leads to booms, which turn into busts when the flow of new money stops.
38- Exploitation of developing countries
The United States is regularly condemned for “exploiting” poor countries through trade and for impoverishing other countries (eg Venezuela and Cuba) by refusing to trade with them. That said, trade with a dictatorship can help sustain the dictator, but so can foreign aid from governments and NGOs.
39- Risk of bankruptcy of the company
Business failure is a good thing, not a bad thing. If a business turns scarce resources that have other uses into goods that are less valuable than the resources, then we want that business to fail. In contrast, failed government programs (e.g., corn-based ethanol subsidies, sugar quotas and tariffs, steel tariffs, the jones law, federal government student loan programs, the US Post Office) endure. As Kevin D. Williamson joked, when the government gets it wrong, it kills it forever.
Whether or not a company accepts responsibility for its failures, if the failure is not resolved, it ultimately leads to bankruptcy. The failure of government policy is too often used as ‘evidence’ that more resources are needed. Additionally, politicians and government officials, rather than taking responsibility for their failures, routinely blame the industry for the problems they themselves created.
Richard Fulmer has worked as a mechanical engineer and systems analyst in industry. He is now retired and writes freelance. He has published over 50 articles and book reviews in free market magazines and blogs. Along with Robert L. Bradley Jr., Richard wrote the book, Energy: The Master Resource