A Monologue with the Æther

One Market, Two Methods

A Response to Michael Fincher

In “The truth of two markets, which one works best”[1], Michael Fincher attempts to demonstrate why de-regulated markets are preferable to regulated markets through the example of his own experiences as an entrepreneur in high school. However, in his zeal to argue against regulation, Mr. Fincher fails to understand the truth of his example even though he nails it on the head with “the two advisors I had represented an authoritarian approach, and a hands off approach to advising.” The real problem was not regulation but a corrupt authoritarian. Both advisors regulated Mr. Fincher’s activities with regard to raising, showing and selling his steers. One advisor dictated all of Mr. Fincher’s actions while the other permitted Mr. Fincher enough latitude to make mistakes and benefit from the lessons those mistakes provided stepping in only to help when asked or to prevent harm.

No rational person can disagree with Mr. Fincher’s complaints regarding the authoritarian advisor. It is obvious that the advisor took full advantage of his position and abused it freely and openly. Mr. Fincher’s article shows not that regulation is harmful; rather, it illustrates that regulation free from oversight and redress permits unfettered corruption. In short, he reaffirms the adage that absolute power corrupts absolutely. It is unstated but implicit in the article that both advisors had absolute authority over their charges, but only one chose to exercise that authority in an autocratic manner. What is most distressing is that rather than attack the conspicuous corruption and abuse of power, Mr. Fincher chose to walk away from an activity which he evidently enjoyed. Thus, the article is not an indictment of regulation instead it is an implicit indictment of those persons who created the system in which Mr. Fincher participated. It is a cautionary tale revealing yet again the dangers of allowing tyrants free reign.

Of the two advisors Mr. Fincher had, one represented a well-regulated market and the other represented a planned market. All planned markets are regulated markets, but the corollary does not hold true: all regulated markets are not planned markets. What Mr. Fincher makes obvious is not that regulation is bad for a market. What he exposes is that planned markets impose unnecessary costs, tend towards corruption, and drive entrepreneurs from participation. His article is a renewal of the call for vigilance against tyranny in all its forms.