Idaho Liberty posting categories


Mercantilism is where the merchants own the power in government. It protects the merchants from competition and increases the costs to customers of their goods and services. It comes about because a handful of people have a great deal to gain from investment in legislation while society’s individuals have little to gain or lose with each law. In extreme examples, governments go to war to protect and foster merchants’ interests.

The British Empire of the 1700’s and 1800’s is a great example of this. Their expansion around the globe supported markets and sources of raw materials that created an extremely wealthy merchant class with austerity marking the lot of the great masses of the English and world’s population.

Those with much to win can spend lavishly entertaining, electing or even being politicians. Those whose interaction to that specialty is limited cannot even justify a letter or phone call to beg the legislators to not restrict their liberties or increase their cost of living.

The first century of this country was guided by a very limited government. Liberty was great in all areas. The unfettered marketplace fostered innovation and competition the likes of which the world had never seen. The next century saw a steady increase in mercantilism. In the last 50 years, the parasites have become so numerous and successful that the great engine of liberty and prosperity is being brought to its knees.

That few can go through a normal day without breaking some laws is commonly understood. It is sad we accept this, but overwhelming to fight it. Throughout every day we bear the costs of specialized protection for selected groups. It would be frustrating to think about it all, and futile to fight it, so we accept and move on.

It is fortunately unusual that we have to deal with the details of funeral arrangements. Emotions are high and experience is low. But ask yourself now how it came to pass that returning the mortal flesh of the deceased to the earth costs $5,000 and there are no legal alternatives?

Try, as I recently did, to get a scratched, but otherwise perfectly good pair of glasses replaced using a perfectly good four year old prescription. That’s against the law. “You must get a complete eye exam and new prescription every two years”. This somehow helps us???

Many of us give good haircuts, styling, braids and hair coloring to friends and family. Just don’t you dare advertise or charge for it without your official permission slip and graduation from the school the merchants of haircuts have designed.

Idaho has 66 organized groups who use state money and state policing to protect their interests from competition. We, the taxpayers, are quite literally paying their little groups to restrict our access to their specialties and increase our cost of doing business with them.

Accountants, Acupuncturists, Architectural Examiners, Asbestos, Athlete Agents, Athletic Trainers, Attorneys, Barbers, Boiler Inspectors, Building Safety, Child Care, Chiropractic Physicians, Contractors …

I once watched an innovator of a natural, herbal remedy plead with, and lick the boots of the state pharmacy board that they might allow him to share his product with customers wanting it. What! an alternative to the chemicals we dispense? Permission denied! I am to this day suspicious that it was not us that was protected thereby.

With tightening budgets becoming the norm, it is an excellent time to SELL these boards and their assets to the highest bidder. Let the geologists, guides, hearing aid fitters, HVAC installers and all the rest finance their own unions, their own lobbying organization and their own certifying agency. Let the customers decide if their certificates are worth looking for or if uncertified help or those certified by a competing organization offer better value.

The practitioners of those arts can buy the assets from The State of Idaho. They “win” their independence while the state not only gains the proceeds of the sale, but saves on expenses of support. We all win as competition increases quality and decreases costs. Certifying agencies like Underwriter Labs, Consumer Reports and Good Housekeeping will be joined by numerous others competing to win our trust while serving their industries.

It is not hard to find the losers in this transaction. Though it may seem it is all of the protected mercantilists, in reality it is only those who cannot win their market share in open competition – and they really should move on to something they can do well.