22 December 2009

What "Regulation"?

There are few words more tiresome than "regulation"? Is there anything more tiring that listening to declared enemies of the market supposedly only desiring the market be regulated? Or declared friends of the market energetically combating the regulation of non-market entities?

To regulate means to order. But when using the word to regulate nobody actually means to order, to make orderly, what they mean is to restrict.

Parties engaging in market interactions are - because neither wields power over another - capable of establishing the terms under which they interact without the need of a third party. But when opponents of the market scream for the need to regulate voluntary interactions they do not mean that rules of such interaction should be established. What they mean is that the ability of entities to engage in such interactions should be restricted. However a policy actually stated in such terms would not find much support.

Simultaneously phony free marketeers scramble to the defense of governmental and semi-governmental institutions disingenuously screaming about the evil of their being regulated. What they actually fear are not rules under which the government will do this or that. What they fear is that restrictions would be placed upon these entities in terms of what they can do and when. Naturally they can not state so openly, for only among very few would a policy of permitting the government free reign find support.

Regulation is a word whose meaning has been so obscured that the would be enslavers can promote their stance either as being for regulation or for being against regulation. The real issue is not more or less regulation, the issue is what should be restricted and what should not be restricted. Obviously enough, all that which is voluntary should not be restricted in any way, and all of which is forceful should be restricted in full. Therefore while the market should be left unrestricted, the coercive government should be restricted as much as possible. Ideally so many restrictions would be placed on the government that it would find itself unable to do anything at all and be therefore effectively abolished.

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