Arrogance: The Economic Third Party

By: Guest Authors

By: Brady Boyd

The idea that people make better decisions when those decisions will affect them directly seems to be lost on many Americans. I notice that when I bring up that fact many scoff at it, living in a bastion of the left as I do. As simple, honest and empirically provable the idea may be, the left always brushes it aside. The reason for this obtuse behavior is simple; it comes from arrogance. The sociological reality that insulation from the consequences of ones actions is not good for morality, productivity and education must be ignored if one or many want the power to direct the actions of others. This idea seems to be exponentially true in economic issues. Economic third parties, such as the Federal Government, city planners and unions have a stark record of complete economic and technical failure. Yet succeed in taking credit for success when no such success exists. Regardless of achievement or success, these individuals of the economic third party hold onto personal belief in their own superiority. These individuals and groups point to what they meant to do, and how great that would have been, ask for and many times receive another chance. In a market situation that would never happen, it would seem the success of a company is more important than peoples’ lives. Considering economic third party failure will receive not only accolades for complete failure but also more chances, regardless of all the lives they changed for the worse.

Some economic third parties of the Federal Government like the EPA have massive power over the economy, more so after Executive Orders made by President Obama, yet are never held accountable for their economic impact. Sometimes the impacts of this economic power manifest in a large body count. The EPA in its crusade against DDT pressured Sri Lanka to ban the chemical saying that the substance was causing Cancer, ignoring the fact Sri Lankans were living longer, making it far more likely that an individual would get cancer. Despite fears of malaria, Sri Lanka decided to ban DDT at the behest of the EPA. While the year before DDT was banned there were 17 cases of Malaria, the year after cases numbered around 500,000. Since the ban, malaria remains a killer to this very day. The reality of what the EPA did has been ignored and the EPA is actually still seen as a force for good and is growing in funding, size, scope and influence. I most certainly would not give incompetent people power, let alone individuals that are so incredibly incompetent that their decisions kill people, the death toll is now in the millions do to the EPA’s decision. In a market situation, the EPA would have to pay either civilly or criminally for their mistakes.

Unions as an economic third party are quite interesting. All public sector unions are fully insulated from their actions because they in fact are their own managers through the ballot box. Harry Bridges was a private sector union hero. Today the Port of San Francisco is not a commercial port. There are no jobs for longshoremen. This is do to a massive anti-containerization movement of the 60’s and 70’s, lead by Harry Bridges. Shipping companies, instead of giving into the demands and fears of the union, simply picked up and moved across the bay to Oakland. This should not be considered success, yet the name of Harry Bridges is on government buildings, road signs, and even awards. This is because as the economic third party of the situation, the suffering caused by the loss of nearly all commercial shipping related jobs in the city does not effect him or even his union. In fact, his negative impact is fully ignored a majority of time. In a market situation, Bridges would receive no accolades and be judged by what he did, not what he stood for or the way he made people feel.

When looking at city planning there are copious examples available. The example that is most troubling to me is the example of Salinas, CA. The existing residents of Salinas were able through the local Government to restrict development of 75% of the land in the county. Such interventions were sold to the people as ways to protect “this way of life,” a political meme often repeated and revered. The consequence of these interventions was that by 2005 Salinas had the least affordable housing in the nation. Salinas has a large population of Mexican farm workers, who must live in over crowded apartments, something that such “open space” interventions were supposed to stop. These interventions protect “this way of life,” for mostly white rich liberals on the backs of the working poor. Yet “open space” and “smart growth” interventions are repeated, re-hashed and celebrated regardless of failure; many city planners are even given awards. San Francisco City Hall claims it cares for the poor and minorities, yet it’s policies have cut its African American population in half. Simply put, the effect of what they do is ignored, it seems these third parties will pat themselves on the back and take on new chances that may, yet again, bring ruin to groups of people.

I understand that the central planners of the world are smart. But arrogance makes any intelligence ineffective and often times dangerous. It is certainly arrogant to think that an individual, or a group of elites is smarter than the cumulative intelligence of hundreds, thousands or millions of individuals whose decisions are coached by consequence and reality. Especially, when economic third parties are cheered, re-hired or re-hashed even if they had in reality failed to complete their objectives and had done damage to people. Get rid of the economic third parties, get rid of the idea that people are animals to be controlled and molded. Our cumulative intelligence, experience and wisdom is far more effective than a model or a plan.

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