Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Free Market Equality

The free market - we are told - creates large disparities in income and inequality. But let’s look at the facts.

A few hundred years ago, the wealthy used to go around in carriages with 4 horses, everyone else walked. Nowadays the wealthy man may have a Lamborghini, or a Rolls Royce, but even so - most poor families still have a car. That is equality.

You can afford, if it takes your fancy, to have steak dinner every night. A few hundred years ago you would have had to have been a king to afford that. That’s equality.

The richest person in the world can’t get that much better a broadband connection than you can. He can’t get comfier shoes, or a bed, or a couch. That is equality.

Everyone – increasingly now even people in third world counties – has a phone. That is equality.
A rich person has a flush toilet. You have a flush toilet. A rich person has water coming out of his taps. You have water that comes out of your taps. A rich person has electricity. You have electricity. You can afford soap. You can eat fruit that is flown in from all over the world, in every season. The richest lord in the world a couple of hundred years ago couldn’t even dream of the luxury that people who are considered impoverished in 1st world countries live in.

99% of Americans living below the poverty line have electricity, water, flush-toilets and a refrigerator. 95% have a television. 88% a telephone, and 70% air conditioning - just like rich. That is equality.

Now, I hate the term market competition – because the market is not about competition. Competition simply arises naturally, wherever there is choice between more than one option - whether that is a product, a partner, spending time in the evening, which friend to go to lunch with, or which parking space to choose. That said, market competition – as that is the term which is commonly used for the phenomenon of different service providers trying to sell their products to the same customers who have limited time and resources in which to consume those products – creates an upward pressure on the quality of products, and a downward pressure on their price, because consumers want the best product at the best price in most cases.

That is why at first hardly anyone could afford a computer, and because those greedy rich bastards who were so exuberant and wasteful with their handfuls of money decided to pay for them anyway – instead of giving it to the poor – the companies that made them were able to fund research to make the kind of computer that you are reading this article on now affordable to you.

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