Some people wake up every day with the knowledge that they are so incompetent, the only way they can survive in the market for their skills is through the violent suppression of would-be competitors. It is a broad swath of folks - barbers, drivers, contractors, manicurists, doctors, lawyers, and a plethora of others – that are so positive of their inability to provide a quality service that others would value that they don\'t even try.
What a sad existence that must be.
Oh, sure, the barber isn\'t picking up a gun and doing the dirty work himself. The contractor isn\'t slashing the tires of his neighbor\'s truck in the middle of the night. No, they both hire others for the jobs of assault, battery, and theft.
Actually, hiring thugs for violent actions would indicate that the employer was remunerating the employee for his time and energy. But, licensees only pay a small fraction of the cost. The rest is forcibly extracted from other victims who use their skills to actually produce goods and services that people want to buy – not forced to buy.
Hyperbole? Let\'s see*.
In Broward County, Florida the Sun-Sentinel reported that Broward Sheriff Office bureaucrats are running a sting on unlicensed carpenters. Take three minutes to enjoy their video:
There are two carpenters who want to do work and want to be paid for their work presumably by people who want the work done and are willing to pay for it. Note how BSO deputies non-violently bust into the great room with guns drawn and negate the threat of the violent carpenters with their handcuffs.
According to BSO Detective Daniel Belyau, it\'s all in the name of safety and consumer protection. But, the carpenters weren\'t arrested for safety violations or fraud of any sort. They were arrested for “contracting without a license”.
In other words, they were arrested for failure to engage violent threats against their would-be competitors.
But, let\'s go back to Det. Belyau for a moment. In an alternate universe where Belyau had to market his skills to willing customers, is it conceivable that he would be hired to do this job, that is, violently prevent these two carpenters from putting food on their family\'s table? I think it is conceivable that Belyau may find a customer base: incompetent carpenters.
In that alternate universe, though, it would be quite a stretch to imagine incompetent carpenters with enough money to pay Belyau for that particular service.
Then, there is Ms. Delinda Epstein who, in conjunction with her last-chance financed Hyundai Elantra, threatens to bring the entire transportation industry of Nevada screeching to a halt, not to mention bring untold shame to fabulous Las Vegas. The Nevada Transportation Authority has determined that cab and limo companies and their employees are so incompetent, that Ms. Epstein\'s Hyundai must be impounded and her cell phone turned off to prevent her dominance of the market.
Clearly, Ms. Epstein distinguishes herself from the stereotypical cabbie; in addition to rides from the airport, she also offers to clean and fold your laundry. Left unchecked, who knows what anarchy her competence might lead to?
Because, competence does lead to anarchy. Competence doesn\'t need violence to protect itself; it is fully capable of doing that on its own. Only incompetence needs violence and coercion to survive.
For all that has been written and spoken of the power of markets, I believe the next step in human evolution is to truly recognize the POWER of markets. We know that markets reward competence and punish incompetence. Markets have the power to dispassionately lead every human to produce in the area where they have the largest comparative advantage – the best opportunities they have in life without using violence to promote their incompetence.
It\'s not efficient. In fact, it can be downright messy. Ms. Epstein may be put out of business by a cabbie that folds your laundry and gives you a soda. Our carpenters may be out-built. But, in each case they will be non-violently driven to a line of work where they do enjoy a comparative advantage.
And, here is the POWER of markets: if people move non-violently to positions where they have comparative competence, using State violence to move to an area where they are incompetent would be a step back economically. Government violence and protectionism makes them worse off, and they know it!
As proof, I offer our two carpenters and the heroic Ms. Epstein.