Unregulated Markets

I don’t understand why people are so enamoured of the free market system. Not that we have anything resembling one in any national economy. There are pockets, of course. Which is the topic of The Blog today.

Down here in ye olde Cape Town last month, there was a protest by taxi drivers. They were protesting against ‘intereference’ from law enforcement officials. One among them  expressed the following sentiment: “Officers must stop hiding behind bridges and bushes”. Another added: “City police must stop assaulting and harassing taxi drives [sic] should this continue taxi drivers will be force to defend themselves.”

It gets better: ‘They also asked for “separate cells” at police stations.’ Who do they think they are? Tony Yengeni?

Besides the humour in the situation afforded by the distance – physical, emotional and otherwise – between ‘them’ and ‘us’ web-enabled, car-driving, city slickers, I see in this some of the dangers of unfettered economic markets.

Sure, you may say that taxi drivers are a special breed. But economics, as dismal a science as it is, makes no distinction between economic agents. What is true in the taxi industry applies with just as much force amongst more sophisticated, cultured, educated, what-have-you types. Like you and me. Or that guy over there. Yes, you!  Get back to work…


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