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The slow death of Capitalism

Discussion in 'The Soapbox' started by RoadSaint, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. RoadSaint
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    RoadSaint Active Expediter

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    We live and work in a country that was birthed by capitalism, where it is more fundamental to our identity than any other country in the world, yet more and more, those native-born to this country are adopting an attitude as if business owners are some other class, separated from "normal" citizens. Foreigners move here to start businesses and live the American Dream while native US citizens toil working for someone else. This is not an issue of capability, but of attitude. It has become far too common for native-born US citizens to view business owners as a different social class and cry out for more regulation upon them. The net result of such an attitude in a democratic society is to make it more difficult for individuals to become business owners. The regulations imposed on existing businesses are but a speed bump to large, established businesses like Walmart. They have the means to work around or through those regulations. It is the small business that suffers the most from these regulations. It is the individual average Joe who wants to start his own hot dog cart but cannot, because over-regulation has created a scenario where starting a hot dog cart business ends up costing $25,000 when it should cost $3,000. So average Joe spends his $3,000 on a used motorcycle that he has time to ride 4 times a year, continues to enrich someone else with his labor, and complains for more regulation on his employer, never realizing it is his own complaints and those like them that have led to his situation.

    I once looked into starting my own taxicab company in Columbus, Ohio. Normally, at the time, this would have cost me less than $5,000 to get started(even as low as $500 with fewer regulations). However, Columbus had put a moratorium on new taxi-cab licenses. They felt they had enough taxicabs to meet demand and were no longer issuing new licenses, which otherwise would have cost about $500.00. However, if you already had a license, you could transfer it to another person who didn't have one. This led to taxicab licenses being sold for around $80,000.00. A $500.00 license being sold for $80,000.00 because of unnecessary regulation. Absent such regulation, the market for taxicabs would self-correct at a rate that the market could bear. When there are too many taxicabs, drivers wouldn't be able to get sufficient business to make pursuing such a venture worthwhile.

    It is still possible in this country to make your own way, and to enjoy the fruits of your own labor, but the ability to do that is diminishing rapidly, and both Republicans and Democrats are responsible for this situation. Neither party truly represents small government any more.

    I was inspired to start this thread when a member in another thread bashed the Libertarian party for wanting to eliminate regulations. While some regulations are indeed critical(some child labor laws), the over-regulation in this country is leading us away from the capitalistic foundation upon which we were built. It is contributing to a working-class attitude wherein business owners are people to be extorted for better conditions, rather than looked up to as examples to follow in order to enrich their own lives. Personal accountability has vanished from our lives. Everyone's situation is someone else's fault.

    Every regulation you impose on business owners as a worker further entrenches you as a worker in that social heirarchy, making it that much more difficult for you to rise from worker to business owner. People from other countries, where regulation and serious bureaucratic roadblocks prevent them from pursuing personal success move here every year to start businesses because they've been where over-regulation leads.

    The Libertarian party is the party of personal responsibility. If you don't approve of conditions of your employment, get a different job or start your own business. If you don't like how someone runs their business, don't give them your business, and feel free to ask others to do the same. But don't take away people's very freedom to live their own lives, operate their own businesses, or employ willing workers as they see fit. Frivolous regulation is an assault on freedom itself.
     
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  2. Ragman
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    Ragman Veteran Expediter Retired Expediter

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    Not to be a rabble rouser or anything, but who gets to decide if a regulation is frivolous?
     
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    • skyraider

      skyraider Veteran Expediter Retired Expediter US Navy

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      Turtle and The Man from Bison..
       
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    • BigStickJr

      BigStickJr Veteran Expediter Retired Expediter

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      Skimmed the op.
      Really don’t get into the soapbox.
      Not going to do deep thinking for no revenue.
      That high dollar taxi medallion will probably drop like OVM on a seesaw if Uber comes to town.

      Kind like highly valued “Authority” to haul freight became valueless after deregulation.

      Time for another drink.
       
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    • davekc
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      davekc Senior Moderator Staff Member Fleet Owner

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      As good or better than anything we do now. :p
       
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    • RoadSaint
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      RoadSaint Active Expediter

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      Oh, I'm sure it already has. That story I told happened over a decade ago. At the time, Columbus had instituted the moratorium on taxi medallions over 20 years prior. The natural evolution of such ridiculous over-regulating in our system is for a company like Uber to come along and make up a loophole.

      I say "make up" a loophole because, really, what Uber is doing flies completely in the face of hundreds of regulations across this country. Taxis are regulated. So Uber says they aren't providing a taxi service. They're providing a "ride sharing service" that does precisely the same thing as a taxi service.

      But by the time our tech lagging political machine realized what was happening, Uber had made enough money to fight lawsuits all over the country from cities and other government bodies that say Uber is violating their regulations.

      In the meantime, anyone who wants to give a stranger a ride home from the airport for money has to deal with tons of over-regulation that takes away most of the financial incentive to do so, while Uber operates mostly unchecked by saying, "I'm not stealing, I'm redistributing wealth!"

      The average person doesn't have the financial means to play word games against the US government. Large companies do. Thus, regulation hurts the average person while being only a slight annoyance to large companies. Regulations aren't the answer to the little guy's quandry.
       
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    • coalminer

      coalminer Veteran Expediter Retired Expediter

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      I think you are correct about capitalism dying, but you dont see who is behind it, big business is the one driving the regulations, they are the ones who benefit from it the most, to keep the rest of us their slaves. The government is just the tool they use against us, you are right capitalism is dead, it has been replaced by corporatism.

      I just read an article the other day about Amtrak, and how the government is dumping alot of tax money in keeping it going. The reason why? Amtrak does not own the majority of the tracks it runs its passenger trains on, the freight railroads do, and the contracts that they have are so one sided that even though that last train wreck in SC was not Amtrak's fault, we (the taxpayers) are still on the hook for all the damages because that is how the contracts are written. The funny thing is that article was on the Fox news website, im really surprised they posted an article like that.

      Just like the defense contractors who get rich off our tax money, the health insurance companies get rich off our tax money, and the freight railroads get rich off our tax money. Well I guess it would be more accurate that they are getting rich off of our credit cards, as we borrow more and more and rack up mass amounts of debt.

      I dont drive anymore unfortunately, I had to get a job so that I could have health insurance for my wife, I would much rather be out there on the road with you guys, but since our health care system is so screwed up, I have to work for someone else rather than working for myself.

      The concentration of wealth continues.......
       
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    • RoadSaint
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      RoadSaint Active Expediter

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      I think I see who is behind it just fine, and you're not wrong. Like I said, vote libertarian. The little guy needs to be on the same even playing field as the large corporations. I agree that regulations mostly serve to keep competition out of the marketplace, protecting the pseudo-monopolies of companies like McDonalds and Walmart. That's what I've been saying this entire thread.

      It's important to see through the smoke and mirrors, and vote intelligently, not emotionally. Both republicans and dems appeal to emotion on their platforms. De-regulation and small government provides the greatest logical opportunites for individual success and independent, free-thinking citizens.
       
    • coalminer

      coalminer Veteran Expediter Retired Expediter

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      The problem with the libertarian way is that everyone has to be willing to play nice with everyone else for it to work. Corporate America would go nuts under libertarian rule as there would nothing to keep their greed in check.

      I respect people who know what the right thing to do and choose to do it. Unfortunately there are less and less of those out there, most don’t respect the law and don’t forget about the ones that think they are above the law, Hillary Clinton comes to mind....


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    • RoadSaint
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      RoadSaint Active Expediter

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      All people don't have to play nice for capitalism to work. Some will, some won't. It's up to each of us to keep that in mind and act accordingly. Buyer beware and such. Also, I'm not advocating for a complete rollback of all laws and regulations as some hardline Libertarians do, and I don't think most libertarians are either.

      But embracing the fundamental idea that people should be able to do what they want with themselves and their property so long as it doesn't harm another person or their property is the first step on the right track. There should be no victimless crime. If there is no victim, there is no crime.
       
    • Ragman
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      Im still waiting for an answer...... who gets to decide?
       
    • RoadSaint
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      RoadSaint Active Expediter

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      The answer is simple if we can agree on a core philosophy that capitalism and competition are good, adults should be responsible for their own decisions, children need protection, people should not be physically harmed(outside of natural causes), and people shouldn't have their property stolen or damaged(outside of natural causes).

      If you run regulations through that filter, regulations that do not oppose that core philosophy stay and others go.

      How we'd go about implementing that change would be to elect representatives that we trust to do so. To do that, you'd find a representative that mostly agrees with your view of how things should work and vote for them. But the first step is knowing what your view is. I'm not here to outline the legislative and regulatory process. We're not there yet. People have to have informed opinions first before they can be a part of a democratic process that hopes to act on those opinions.

      And the sad fact of the matter is that a majority of voters don't have a clear understanding of the cause and effect of many socioeconomic processes.
       
      Last edited: Feb 18, 2018
    • coalminer

      coalminer Veteran Expediter Retired Expediter

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      Most regulation came about because of something that happened, the financial reforms that happened as a result of the housing crash come into mind. Or the other reason is because big businesses pay enough of our politicians to get what they want, the health care act comes to mind.

      Should we get rid of the ACA? Absolutely!!! Should we get rid of the financial reforms? Hell no!!! That would just cause a repeat of what caused that law to be written.

      There will always be people who will do anything including screw people over to get what they want, we will always need new laws because as our society changes new ways to exploit people will be created.


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    • RoadSaint
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      RoadSaint Active Expediter

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      I disagree with you. The majority of regulation wasn't borne of need due to crisis. Some was. But the majority has been created through the bureaucratic systems that were put into place for other reasons.

      Case in point: The regulations on taxi cab drivers in Columbus, Ohio started with a need to ensure public safety by licensing potential drivers and performing a background check. This required a licensing department to administrate, so a licensing department was created. Then when a regulatory body such as a licensing department gets the power to set policy, all sorts of wonky things start happening. They have the power to grant licenses or not. The exact methods of determining whether or not to grant licenses isn't written into the law that created the regulatory body. The law itself is left vague, allowing the regulatory body itself to set policy. So rather than elected representatives of the people setting policy, we have political appointees who were given their positions as a returned favor for election fundraising paired with affirmative action mis-hires setting regulatory policy in what is supposed to be a free market.

      So then you have something like a 25 year moratorium on taxi medallions because they feel that "there are enough taxis to satisfy city need". Well, who gets to decide that? How about we let the market decide? That way, it isn't tainted by corrupt political appointees with a vested interest in an existing taxi enterprise, or lazy employees who'd rather just tell people no new licenses than actually have to do work for their paycheck.

      The problem isn't major legislation put in place to regulate predatory lending and the like. The problem is all the minor regulation that doesn't have to be passed through legislation because it's left up to a non-elected regulatory body to decide.

      But even further, I disagree that such regulations are healthy for a capitalistic society. In a capitalistic society where a signature equals a legal promise, I think it's fair to say that every single one of us should raise our kids to know that they should never sign something they don't completely understand. Some of the financial reforms were probably necessary on basic banking services, as banks get pretty close to monopolizing money itself, and so should be regulated from preying on people who are almost forced to use their basic banking services in a modern society. But completely optional things like taking a loan with unfavorable terms shouldn't be regulated, in my opinion. If people are following the rule of not signing anything they don't understand, then they aren't being tricked into signing. So that leaves only voluntarily entering into an agreement with unfavorable terms, or doing so under duress, most likely not caused by the lender themselves but rather by the person's personal choices that have left them with few good options. And ultimately, I'm all for personal accountability.

      Let's all take a little responsibility for our own situation in life, shall we? That's the beauty of capitalism. Your choices matter.

      Join me in saying: "I like that my choices matter because I'm a guy that makes good, informed decisions."

      Don't be the other guy. ;)
       
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    • coalminer

      coalminer Veteran Expediter Retired Expediter

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      Just to be clear do you think the person that said no more taxi medallions was

      A: an overreaching political appointee

      Or

      B: being paid by the current taxi companies to prevent them from having more competition

      I say B what do you think?


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    • davekc
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      davekc Senior Moderator Staff Member Fleet Owner

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      The bigger you allow government to get, the more regulations you will have. Half the function of government is to write regulations. Take that away and think of the many who would be unemployed. lol
       
    • RoadSaint
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      RoadSaint Active Expediter

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      Probably both. But you see, if the original legislation was written from a perspective of setting out necessary rules that are the end-all, be-all of those rules, as opposed to legislating into existence a regulatory body that is allowed to make its own rules, it wouldn't have panned out that way. If you specifically design a system that doesn't allow unlegislated regulations stacked on top of it, local cab companies wouldn't be as capable of influencing the system, because instead of 2-3 well-placed "gifts", they'd have to convince a majority of the legislative body to make that decision.

      If you want to have a free market that allows people to compete and make a living on their own, you have to design it that way from the word go. If you fall asleep at the wheel for even a moment, someone will take an opportunity to corrupt the system.

      But people are making this more complex than it needs to be. The driving force behind the necessary change has to be citizens standing up united and demanding the ability to pursue their own financial success and freedom absent the heavy-handed interferance of the government. Currently, the most expediant way to do that is to elect as many libertarian candidates to office as possible.
       
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