James Leroy Wilson's blog

Friday, April 08, 2005

Licensure and Contextual Libertarianism

I was going to post about a Steve Chapman piece on the rank hypocrisy of the "pro-choice" crowd who want to violate the freedom of conscience of pharmacists. However, Arthur Silber presents a far broader picture. Thanks to licensure and other regulations, the market is already rigged, unfree:

Let me repeat the central point: government regulation is always the result of efforts by already vested business interests to stifle competition and artificially restrict the market for their own benefit, using the power of the state to accomplish these ends. I say “always” because, although theoretically there might be a case where this is not true, I have yet to come across one. If you research any business regulation far and deep enough, you will finally discover some company or companies, or some group of businessmen, who lobbied for the regulation—precisely because it would serve to protect their already existing share of the market, if not increase it, and shut out new competitors. Despite all the propaganda to the contrary, such regulations are never for the benefit of “the public” or “the consumer.” That is a statist myth which still needs to have a stake driven straight through its heart, so that it will die the painful death it so richly deserves.

So, because prices and access are already rigged against the consumer, it is not unreasonable to expect pharmacists to serve the consumer in spite of their personal conscience, as pharmacists are in many ways agents of the State. I'm not entirely persuaded, but it's a strong argument.

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