Government Control and Market Intervention
It is, without doubt, possible to overlook or simply ignore those things which are not very obvious in our daily lives, it is this fact that makes many of the actions of our government possible. Actions of government in the area of economic markets, which, must include the primary economic medium of exchange: money, will always, without exception, create interference within the forces that normally function within the market. It is the sole aim of government to influence not only the market, but also the behavior behind the market through such intervention, such interferences always alter market forces, distorting them and in most cases hindering the natural flow of such forces to the point that the market system is thrown into economic chaos. Like money, most government intervention seeks to direct consumption that would not otherwise be a market directed choice, in a very similar fashion as the government seeking to direct, through legal tender laws, the use of its monopoly fiat paper money substitutes.
As these distortions continue there is a growing amount of economic dislocation of normal resource allocations, direct market signaling systems are misdirected into areas that would not otherwise be present or prevalent in the market itself. Since the aim of government intervention into the market is not simply an economic, but a social interference, directing certain social agendas with a political basis in origin, we can assume from such a conclusion that there is, based on this official aim, a motive to create a controllable society in which the government is the primary source of all economic and thus social forces within the country.
While that might sound a bit conspiratorial, the fact is simply that the character of government, especially when it reaches a particular point in its evolutionary growth, is to assume such a position of bureaucratic control. Such events are not novel to history, but quite common in all large civilizations; Ancient Rome being the most notable and perhaps the most comparable. As in the decaying Roman Republic, our Republic, long lying upon its deathbed, has been subjected to the same type of government mentality. Our government appears to be equally as eager to keep up appearances of one of republican ideas of liberty and freedom, all the while subverting those very vital principles through directing the forces of economic and monetary markets to achieve a social and political goal that is not consistent with the principles upon which this Republic was founded.
As with all government interference and regulation, the purpose appears to be to use such interference and regulation as a means to an end, but not the end itself, for the actual purpose of all interference and regulation is subservient to the ultimate goals of control. While we are sold on the idea that such interference and regulation is protective, the fact is that the goal is an indirect encroachment on the rights of the individual to make individual choices based on his or her own decisions and needs.
This government has assumed an old and ancient ideology, strange as it might sound, as its creed the “Divine Right of Kings”, for Kings of old thought themselves divinely appointed to care for their subjects and to direct the lives of their subjects, whether just or unjust, based on the divine direction they assumed to be correct. For ultimately, this divine right provided the Kings of old with such a degree of divine wisdom that their decisions were essentially beyond reproach and beyond the ability of the King’s subjects to question. Thus, the providential guardianship of the King over his helpless and unknowledgeable subjects presented a degree of power that would not have otherwise been available to the King. The same is true about our own government, especially today. Today, our government assumes essentially what could easily be considered as “Divine Right” over its “kingdom” and operates under the assumption that it knows what is best for its subjects.
This extends, not only to government regulation and interferences into the physical markets, but also this government has, for decades, been on a quest to even control the mental, spiritual and moral makeup of the country; while not directly imposing a government authorized moral system, there are, through the control of economic forces, a degree of control over the ability of the individual to choose what to believe, how to behave and what to think. The government assumes to know what is best, what type of money is best, which type of businesses are best, what type of consumer goods are best. What is good and not good for your body, what manner of speech is proper and correct, what mental attitudes are acceptable to society; it is a means to an end, and that end is and has always been controlled regimentation, conformity and compliance!
In the eyes of government bureaucracy, the ideal would be to remove all determination from the individual to make choices in his consumption of goods and services, in his ability to think for himself, to have a type of censorship that only allows for the individual to think that which is generally acceptable to the whole of society, of course, what is acceptable to the whole of society has been engineered through decades of gradual compulsory regiments, each building one upon the other, all with the goal of a collective conformity of purpose. We talk about the dumbing down of the American public, but we fail to understand that has simply been one of the methodical processes of control that the government bureaucracy has implemented in its quest for placating and thus dominating the independent spirit of the individual. This government has evolved into what other governments throughout history evolved into, that being a Paternal Organization set to develop the public opinion with a defined belief system, one that is ultimately compliant with and supportive of government without the necessity to question its directives.
It is therefore, essential that any hint of free market decision-making be eliminated, for once a person cannot longer determine his own choice in consumption, then the individual becomes essentially a ward of the State. Likewise, the assault on the idea that there is a Right to Private Property is an equally essential component of the overall directive of control. When the government can issue money substitutes that cannot, by definition, be considered the actual real property of the bearer, then the remaining directives become easier to establish. Government intervention and thus interference in economics is the main avenue utilized by government to implement its controls over the population. What has happened and is happening is nothing short of a longer version of a communist revolution; instead of a radical violent revolution, the same effects can be achieved through a gradual introduction of what amounts to communism through incremental government directives, regulations, prohibitions and induction training in public opinion, i.e. “political correctness”.
Never assume that there is not a political and social purpose behind the governments programs, which directly interfere with market forces, whether it is through regulation, monetary creation or manipulation, all are methodologies toward the goal of ultimate control over an increasingly compliant population. It is evident that through such interference into the markets, businesses and entrepreneurs are systematically forced to actually change the way they do business from market induction to government bureaucratic dictates. Business must take its signals from a distorted view of the market, one that is regulated and controlled instead of proper market signals. Instead of obeying market directives, which actually generate a market result, businesses must obey a plethora of government regulations that are so immense that even the regulators cannot adequately discharge their regulatory duties and can rarely properly interpret the very regulations they are responsible to enforce. Far from being a negative for government regulators, such vagueness is necessary for it provides government with a broadness of implementation and an “out” when such policies are questioned.
Such bureaucratic systems are always subject to corruption, this is true anytime actual market forces are interfered with and controlled. Under normal free market conditions, fraud is short-lived due to the fact that there are signals given that alert the consumer early of the possibility of corruption. Under a system where government intervenes and interferes with market processes, fraud becomes easily hidden since the market signaling process is distorted through government intervention and the regulatory processes employed. It is also essential to understand that any system that employs force to achieve a goal will always create an atmosphere where few will profit from many and income distribution is always stratified through such systems of bureaucratic controls and intervention. Government patronages become common place as those with political connections benefit the most.
Opportunities become very limited due to regulated competition that favors certain politically connected corporations, entrepreneurship becomes increasingly difficult to compete in business where regulation is based upon government patronage to the virtual exclusion of those that might build a better mouse trap but are limited in the opportunity to do so because the established mice trap company is protected by official regulatory walls. There can be no possible way to insure an equitable field of opportunity under such systems, as a rule there are those few therefore, who will prosper at the expense of the majority of individuals. As we have seen, risk becomes socialized while profits remain privatized which, is a complete distortion of market principles where risk and profits are always a private combination of business.
It can be observed therefore, that there is simply no possible method by which the bureaucratic regime can exert such power with any degree of fairness or equitable distribution of opportunity. There is the assumption, by those in government, that it is within the power of government to implement changes in the market that will actually produce equitable results, thus the exercise such power under that assumption, but reality points to a very different set of results. Government intervention into the markets is based on certain assumptions. Most bureaucrats tend to view the public with a condescending eye, one that sees the public as needing direction and guardianship. Thus, government becomes the social worker and policeman of the population. It is this attitude that permeates bureaucracy and provides the excuse for more and more intervention into individual lives, organizing the individuals through classifications and groupings, stratifying the population into distinct and separate classes all for the purpose of social control.
Under such bureaucratic systems, normal legal values are tossed aside and replaced with a regulatory mentality that implies the superiority of a “higher law”, this ideology began in this country during the Administration of Lincoln and it has simply ballooned to the point that we are subject to the arbitrary interpretation of “higher law” rather than the actual Law de jure. Social construction is paramount to the bureaucratic regime, and it is employed through a variety of means, but primarily through intervention into the market processes, controlling and directing both production and consumption. Since the advocates of the “higher law” must mete out a form of justice that is rarely equitable, they do so under the pretense of equality and fairness for the public good. Thus, those who advocate free markets, liberty and freedom of the individual are seen and described as opponents of equality and the public good. They are portrayed as greedy and selfish because the assumption is that the public good cannot be advanced under a pure market system where government is not involved with intervention to create what it imagines as beneficial to the “many” rather than the “few”, but the very system promotes exactly the opposite of what the pronounced intention is and how it is promoted. The assumption by government bureaucrats is that all forms of exploitation can be eradicated through government intervention yet, with this assumption there comes a blindness that prevents those in power to understand that they actions create far more exploitation than it can ever eliminate.
Of course, with these assumptions come the efforts to equalize both income and wealth, thus all manner of redistribution schemes find its way into legislation, whether it is through various taxation or programs. Anyone seeking to actually improve their lot, to actually embark on a path of success where income may be considered above average is castigated as greedy and shameful, detrimental to the public good and the equitable cause of “higher law” and “social justice”. It is therefore, the character of interventionism to foster corruption, there is after all, nothing but the arbitrary decision-making process of bureaucrats to determine the application of what might be considered fair and just, for the Law de jure has been neutralized throughout the system.
Essentially, while we all know that the free market doesn’t provide a “free lunch” that is exactly what the government bureaucratic system seeks to provide, all at the expense of the actual producers in the controlled market. The bureaucrats don’t understand that in all forms of market expression, resources are always scarce, thus anytime any good, whether it is a consumable good or even money, the consumption of that good will always, as it must, come at the expense of someone. The government, through its various means of control, does not appear to understand that fact, or if it does understand it, it assumes the power to disrupt such market forces with an artificial construction seeking to replace market principles with a planned system, centralized and consolidated. The government however, can never be an actual producer and can only siphon off productive activity and in the process it ultimately destroys any productive results to the point that the entire economic system eventually enters a state of failure. Not only that, but since the government and its intervention cannot possibly account for actual economic calculation, the system goes into dystrophy, its artificial monetary substitution system loses economic potency, the entire structure enters various stages of decay that befuddle government economists because they have been so indoctrinated into the official government assumptions rather than the economic reality that the market will always seek to restore.
It is therefore, ultimately impossible for such a mercantilist market to remain stable, there are simply far too many distortions created by the system itself to remain viable. Since government intervention cannot adequately reproduce economic calculation, all of its efforts of control over the market culminate in social and economic destruction. As was mentioned in the beginning of this essay, the government is seeking to displace market choice and yet, since all markets deal with the scarcity of resources it is impossible for the government to implement a system where choices are completely eliminated. Since choice determines price or costs within the market, the governments attempts to restrict or limit choice, thus competition, within the market through regulation displaces normal market signaling systems, creating more and more distortions leading to economic dislocations, the misallocation of resources and ultimate economic failures.
As such intervention increases, and it is a natural process of intervention to exponentially increase without much effort, the whole process eventually becomes an exercise in futility, an absolute absurdity. Of course, bureaucrats don’t understand that the entire free market system of private property and the enterprise to achieve wealth is absolutely the best method of bringing about a higher level of living standards far the greatest bulk of the population. The problem, in the eyes of bureaucrats is that they don’t understand that life is life, it is not fair, it is not an equal playing field, nor will it ever be, despite all the efforts of government intervention to transform the system into one where all people have the very same opportunity to achieve the same living standards. The idea of equal opportunity is itself a misapplication of an ideology that simply cannot exist in real life. The ideal that opportunity is a factor of life that can manage, controlled or transformed is fundamentally flawed in its conception, yet government bureaucrats are seeking to equalize something that cannot be equalized or managed.
Though the government assumes it has both the ability and the power to manage and manipulate markets through various types of intervention, it fails to understand that it is the market that creates civilization. Through the interventionist policies of government essentially the government is setting up its own demise. The government appears to believe, at least evidenced by its actions, that there is an alternative to the free market system, but there is none, there is only the alternative of market distortions created by such intervention. Government bureaucrats appear to believe that the markets are the product of human design, and while it is definitely true that the market is the product of human action, it is far beyond human design. Government intentions to manage and manipulate the market defies the fact that the market, just as money, emerged in history as a pure phenomenon of unintended consequences, all in the pursuit of the self-interest of human action throughout the course of mankind’s history. Money, like the market, has no artificial substitutes.
Carl Menger explored the subject of the emergence of money within markets, it emerged as a phenomenon of trade, as did the market itself. Money is simply the most tradable good, the most competitive commodity to emerge to suit the necessity as the most tradable good was gold and silver, history proclaims the success of gold as money through several thousands years of utility. There was no intention to make gold or silver into money, it was simply the competitive nature of the markets making the most useful and efficient choice.
The first and foremost weapon in the governments arsenal in pursuing market manipulation therefore, was real money, it had to be displaced before all other market principles could be manipulated and somewhat managed. Thus the demonetizing of gold and silver were a priority of government interventionists. Without such steps it would be virtually impossible for the government to implement the vastness of social controls, all the while expanding its own scope of power. The incremental revolution that has taken place over the decades is astounding when viewing it for what it really is and how it has progressed. With the advance of this interventionist system, there has been a growing and perhaps more pronounced hostility toward the free market in general and capitalism specifically, this hostility has been intentionally crafted, for without it the systems of control could not possibly continue to be implemented. It is easy to see this hostility around the world, yet it is obvious that such hostility is artificially constructed and is based on a total ignorance of market principles. All one need do is listen to the rhetoric within the public arena to see that it is based on ignorance, but it is exactly that ignorance that is useful to this government.
If you have noticed recently there have been many in the public arena that have heaped praise on the Chinese model of “capitalism” yet, for all the praise, they neglect the obvious and that is that the Chinese model is actually a failure that will be exposed soon enough. Yet, such praise is actually nothing more that ploys to further implement more bureaucratic controls and management over our own economy. These bureaucrats are delusional in their understanding and their faith in the power of their actions verses the power of the market to seek to correct the distortions they create. There are many within our government who actually believe that a mercantilist form of socialism actually represents advancement over the free market, that such a system is superior, at least ethically superior, to any market production that is based upon private profits. Unfortunately for those who hold such wayward beliefs, their system can never function to the degree that success would be sustainable for a long period of time, nor could it produce the necessary standard of living to maintain popular satisfaction. They seek to make their fantasy of a government induced free lunch possible while rejecting the only type of market that can provide a higher standard of living for the masses which is the free market unhindered by government interference and intervention.
Government bureaucrats cannot seem to grasp the grand nature of the free market, that it is essentially unplanned order in the highest degree; since they have no understanding of how something can be unplanned and yet ordered, they seek to place their particular brand of order upon it, but their alternative planned order only displaces market order and creates, in its wake, economic and social destruction. It is, without doubt therefore, these extremely irrational tendencies of government that pose one of the greatest threats to our civilization, in particular our liberty and freedom, as well as our well being. If there is any consolation it can be found in the fact that the system that they have created is rapidly falling into a state of total disrepair, the question will be for all of us, is what type of world will we choose to rebuild after the collapse of this artificial system of control?