The Myth

The central goal of an entrepreneur or a business is to … please the customer. It’s not a selfless act, of course. The business seeks to please the customer for the sake of profit. Profit primarily means money, but it doesn’t exclude such things as pride and a desire to keep customers over the long-term by sometimes doing extra nice things for them in the short-term.

In an economy free of government controls, restrictions, special favors and subsidies, this is how it would work. In our regulated economy, the government operates on the premise that business seeks to cheat the customer–and only government can prevent this from happening. Government seeks to sustain the myth that it is the friend of the customer, the only hope the customer has against the enemy of business.

In reality, government imposes restrictions on the majority of honest, productive and innocent businesses as well as the occasional dishonest, unproductive ones. As a result, the costs of doing business are passed onto the customer. Yet government doesn’t get the blame for this. Who gets the blame for any of the undesirable results of taxation, regulation, and subsidies which favor some businesses over others? Business. Who gets the credit for things that go well–such as the development of a new capitalist, private economy on the Internet, or amazing advancements in pharmaceuticals created by for-profit corporations? Government. It’s profoundly unjust and insanely inaccurate. Not everyone falls for the myth to the same degree, but most fall for it to some degree.

Bottom line: You can’t have a society with lots of neat and effective things without production. You don’t have production without capitalism. Government hampers, undercuts and, if left unfettered, ultimately destroys capitalism and all the things that make life comfortable, safe and nice. This is still a very correctable problem–although not so long as the great majority think capitalism is the problem and only government is the solution.