Such delusional thinking is rampant today, especially in Libertarian and right-wing circles, who blame the government for everything. “If only the government would get out of the way,” they shout. Only trouble is, our free market ain’t free at all folks; the opposite is true.
The free market is, in reality, every company’s nemesis. Every product that comes to market has numerous patents that cover its uniqueness and functionality. Writings are protected by copyright law. Patents and copyrights are government-granted protections that prohibit the copying of ideas for a number of years.
In a truly free market, there wouldn’t be any patents or copyrights. Everybody would be free to steal and copy ideas randomly to sell their products and compete side by side, like vendors in a flea market. The truth is, everybody wants protections.
Corporate legal departments are filled with lawyers who sniff out any signs of likeness in other products, and sue at the drop of a hat to preserve their employer’s protections. Many workers today have to sign non-compete contracts in order to keep their employment because companies fear their leaving and divulging secrets that might threaten their specific product.
The number of lobbyists in Washington has doubled over the last 10 years, all pushing to get legislation passed favoring their agenda. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a collaborative organization of corporate executives that meet, discuss, and write ready-made legislation that favors business.
They then give the ready-made law templates to supporting elected officials to sponsor it into law. A new study just out by Princeton and Northwestern University concludes that our country is no longer a Democracy or even a Republic, but an Oligarchy. It is a country controlled by corporations and the rich few.
The recent Supreme Court rulings allowing unlimited money contributions into politics has given the few unlimited voice in elections and policy. Our government “by the people and for the people,” like our free market, is only illusionary.
Tyler Cassell is a resident of Flushing.