Consider that one of the classic forms of “welfare” in this country is also absolutely a form of corporate welfare too – food stamps. Many big corporations owe a large part of their bottom lines to these programs. In some places one can even buy McDonalds and other fast food directly with EBT cards. Years ago we did a story on how JPMorgan has EBT servicing contracts with states worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Add in Walmart and other discount stores that see immense flows from government programs and one begins to see the picture.
If we ended crony capitalism (a good goal, but it likely it can only be reduced – but perhaps drastically) it would indeed help the plight of the global poor. Countries which are poor are always rife with cronyism. The established powers that be, which control the government, loot the rest of the country. It is the natural tendency of humanity, but this natural tendency must be fought. If we want broad prosperity cronies must be brought to heel and hiding places for cronies eliminated.
Is inequality bad? It is assumed that it is for some reason. And to the degree that it is caused by the already powerful gaming the system it is absolutely a problem and one we examine closely here. (That the big banks have access to the Fed window and that the Fed backstops the bankers is a good example of unjust inequality of wealth.) But what of an inventor who made the world a better place? Should a person or company who cures cancer for instance feel bad in any way about the vast sums which would likely follow such a cure?
All I can say is we made the case for making Detroit an economic “free zone” back in October 2012. Not that “free zones” are our idea. Free market/price advocates have made the case for them for years. It’s good to see the idea getting some real political traction.
Free up places which are disasters. Make them business friendly. Lower or eliminate taxes. Let people innovate. Many of our cities have little to lose at this point. Other than a rigid fear of free markets why wouldn’t one want free zones in areas of economic despair?
I despise parking tickets primarily because they are such a racket. Washington DC, the major city in which I drive regularly collects tens of millions of dollars in parking ticket fines each year. If one visits DC keep an eye out for the folks in the red jackets. They’ll answer your questions and give you directions but they are also patrolling the streets looking to fine drivers.
I’ll grant you that there are legitimate reasons for parking tickets.
Sweden isn’t some sort of Shangri la. It’s cold. It’s dark. It has high rates of depression. Economic freedom levels are low. Taxes are high. And relative to most states in the USA Sweden is poor. Like Arkansas poor.
On the other hand it made Saabs, which I always liked. (Before GM took them over.)
This is wonderful news and it is driven by a general tendency to liberalize markets. Resources now flow from one place to the next more easily than they ever have. As such entrepreneurs are more able to create wealth even in some of the most challenged parts of the globe. Freedom works. Liberty works. Economic decentralization works. Where allowed to flourish without undue burden the market makes life generally better. Where the market is largely restricted poverty continues to prevail.
As we have said before, many times, we are against crony capitalism and for capitalism not because “we just want to keep what’s ours.” Not because we feel some slavish devotion to an ethos of greed. (As some might call self interest.) But because the voluntary exchange of goods and services, capitalism, is the economic vehicle which raises more out of poverty and provides the most opportunity for everyday people. Where one can do business without the government or the local lord or mafia boss taking all the profits people can build wealth.
Wouldn’t that be great? Porsches for everyone! Well, not really. Perhaps some groceries in most cases.
An interesting little experiment. We’re guessing that the interns at Bloomberg needed something to do one afternoon.
The way out of poverty is through capitalism, free enterprise, free markets, and free prices. But so many people who I believe honestly want to do good do not understand this. They believe that central planning and aid from “rich countries” will solve the world’s problems even though they have only worsened things in aggregate around the world for decades.
Where poor people can build wealth and enjoy property rights and honest pricing the tendency is toward prosperity.
The scourge of Argentinian Peronism, a type of fascism, goes worldwide.
A picture from an Indian reservation in South Dakota. American Indians have gotten the rawest deal in America as a group, and the US government has managed their affairs to a large degree since conquering them. So what does that tell you?
This is what happens when government layers regulations on top of regulations. When it makes it very difficult to start businesses. When it encourages government dependence for electoral reasons. (It does. I hate that it does, but it does.) When government rewards companies which partner with politicians with taxpayer money and favors.This is what happens when the people running the show in Washington abandon the spirit of free enterprise,
Cronyism happens on all scales. Sometimes it’s massive bank bailouts, sometimes it’s the quiet siphoning of state and federal money to connected groups and individuals in a little town.
But it’s the same thing fundamentally, theft.
I did not grow up with money. But I did work in finance for years and I have known a number of people with significant wealth. I also live in an old money town, Charlottesville, Virginia.
There is an adage about significant wealth which I think holds generally true and that is that “old money” is smaller than “new money.”
Often with older money there is some patriarch a few generations ago who made a pile of cash in some endeavor,