Home
In this issue
April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 15, 2008 / 19 Iyar 5768

Too ‘Complex’?, Part III

By Thomas Sowell


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In one of those typical San Francisco decisions that makes San Francisco a poster child for the liberal left, the city's Board of Supervisors is moving to block a paint store from renting a vacant building once used by a video rental shop.


That paint store is part of a chain, and chain stores are not liked by a vocal segment of the local population. Chain stores are already banned from some parts of San Francisco, and at least one member of the Board of Supervisors plans to introduce bans on chain stores in other areas.


Chain stores have been disliked for decades, at both local and national levels. Taking advantage of economies of scale that lower their costs of doing business, chain stores are able to charge lower prices than smaller independent stores, and therefore attract customers away from their higher-cost competitors.


The economics of this is certainly not too "complex" to understand. However, politics is not economics, so politicians tend to respond to people's emotional reactions— and if economic realities stand in the way, then so much the worse for economics.


All sorts of laws and court decisions, going back as far as the 1930s, have tried to prevent the economies of scale that lower costs from being reflected in lower prices that drive high-cost competitors out of business.


Economists may say that benefits always have costs, that there is no free lunch— but how many votes do economists have?


There was a time when courts would have stopped politicians from interfering with people's property rights by banning chain stores. After all, if whoever owns the vacant video rental store in San Francisco wants to rent it to the paint company, and the paint company is willing to pay the rent, why should politicians be involved in the first place?


However, once the notion of "a living Constitution" became fashionable, the Constitution's protection of property rights has been "interpreted" virtually out of existence by judges.


The biggest losers are not people who own property but people who have to pay higher prices because politicians make it harder for businesses that charge lower prices to come into the community.


Despite the political myth that government is protecting us from big businesses charging monopoly prices, the cold fact is that far more government actions have been taken against businesses that charge low prices than against businesses that charge high prices.


The biggest antitrust cases of a century ago were against the Great Northern Railroad and the Standard Oil Company, both of which charged lower prices than their competitors.


The Robinson-Patman Act of 1936 was called "the anti-Sears, Roebuck law" because it was directed again this and other chains that charged lower prices than smaller retailers could match.


For a long time, there were so-called Fair Trade Laws designed to keep low-cost businesses in general from charging low prices that drive high-cost businesses out of business.


Fortunately, enough sanity eventually prevailed that Fair Trade Laws were repealed. But the emotional needs that such laws met were still there, and today they find an outlet in hostility to Wal-Mart and other "big box" stores— especially in San Francisco and other bastions of the liberal left.


People have every right to indulge their emotions at their own expense. Unfortunately, through politics, those emotions are expressed in laws and administrative decisions by people who pay no price at all for indulging either their own emotions or the emotions of the people who vote for them.


That is why the Constitution tried to erect barriers to government power, of which property rights were one. But, once judges started saying that "the public interest" over-rides property rights, that left politicians free to call whatever they wanted to do "the public interest."


Neither economics nor property rights are too "complex" to understand. But both get in the way of willful people who seek to deny other people the right to make their own decisions.


Anyone who doesn't like chain stores is free not to shop there. But that is wholly different from saying that they have a right to stop other people from exercising their own freedom of choice. That's not too "complex" to understand.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on JWR contributor Thomas Sowell's column by clicking here.

Up

Thomas Sowell Archives



© 2006, Creators Syndicate

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles