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Corporations Need Limits

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015
Posted in Debate by Joel Gross

You may be shocked that I am posting a blog entry about companies needing limits. I generally tend to be a libertarian advocating only laws that protect one individual from infringing on the rights of others; I think after reading this you will find that this is generally in keeping with my philosophy.

What is the problem? Why do corporations need limits?

There is a systemic problem of corporations doing things that are in their own interest but against the public welfare at large:

  • Tobacco companies have pushed a product that they have known is damaging for half of a century
  • Gun companies have pushed individual ownership of guns even though America’s Founding Father’s meant them to be used by militia’s, and an individual with a gun no longer oppose a nuclear armed government with robots fighting for them.
  • Oil companies have pushed for heavy use of their product even though CO2 has been shown to have the potential wreck our planet’s future. I believe they have also pushed an anti-nuclear energy agenda even though nuclear is our best option.
  • Alcohol companies push their product even though they know that 10% of the population drives 80% of their profitability (alcoholics)
  • Doctors have pushed through laws limiting the number of people who can become doctors each year, severely restricting supply and causing prices to go through the roof. America has the highest health care costs in the world not because of insurance companies, but because doctor’s charge $2,000 per hour for their time.
  • Attorneys have pushed through laws that make them more money but harm everyone else; a great example is family law. A divorce in the USA is far more expensive and far more painful than elsewhere in the world.

How do we resolve this? Regulation?

Unfortunately, companies are too good at lobbying in their own interests and distracting attention away from what they are doing (hence we have the perennial “issues” of abortion, gay rights, and a slew of other issues that have nothing to do with what matters most – power of the country which is money). Companies generally quickly gain control of their own regulators. The financial industry is an excellent example of this, as is the healthcare industry.

I am not entirely certain what the best solution is here. I hate lawyers, but perhaps the best thing to do is companies up to litigation for behavior that is against the public interest. Setting this up in a way that was just would be challenging though.