Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cream And Dregs

"One of the worst features of all the plans for sharing the wealth and equalizing or guaranteeing incomes is that they, the ruling class, lose sight of the conditions and institutions that are necessary to create wealth and income in the first place."

Henry Hazlitt (1894-1993)

Prescient? Yes, because it is correct principle. Written in 1946, Dr. Hazlitt was well ahead of our current economic world. The redistribution of wealth, if even possible, is NOT a value that made the United States a great nation. Creating an entitlement society (and mentality) is NOT a value that made the United States a great nation. Federal control and income confiscation is NOT a value that made the United States a great nation. Central planning of economic markets is NOT a value that made the United States a great nation. I could go on and on. If you find any of that in any of the writings of the Founding Fathers, I will eat the pages in front of you.

Can talents be equalized? How about skills and abilities? How can desires and dreams which create drive and determination be equalized? Or the desire to learn and be educated and think for oneself? Well of course none of that can be. And therefore there will always be those who excel, and NOT at the expense of those who choose, yes choose, to lack behind. They would excel because of who they are.

If the gubment mandated tomorrow that all the wealth* in the U.S. be redistributed equally among its citizenry, each would choose a different path with what to do with that gift. Some would squander it on nonsense. Some would spend it to benefit others. Some would try to acquire "stuff" and immediate comfort. And some would invest it in ways that created more income and a secure future. A zillion paths for that redistributed wealth would be followed. And in short order, perhaps shorter than most would think, the same wealth disparities would exist as the cream rose to the top and the dregs sank back to the bottom.

Anyone who thinks wealth can be redistributed as an economic policy is a dope.

* Those whose wealth was inherited (or acquired through marriage) would have NO idea how to go about creating the wealth that was given to them. Name your favorite trust-fund family. Take away their money and their entitlement mentality would not get them very far... They would be the loudest squawkers about the "inequalities and unfairness" of the system!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Land Of Promise

"A Russian man goes to the official agency, puts down his money and is told that he can obtain delivery of his automobile in exactly 10 years. “Morning or afternoon,” the purchaser asks. “Ten years from now, what difference does it make?” replies the clerk. “Well,” says the car buyer, “the plumber’s coming in the morning.”

Ronald Reagan (1911-2004)

Reagan was always telling jokes about the Soviet Union. He especially loved telling them to Gorbachev. Gorbie always thought Reagan was exaggerating.

What made those jokes funny, what makes all jokes funny, is that they were filled with truth.

Reagan was unlike any other major politician of his era in that he argued indefatigably and persuasively for the free market.

Why did he do that?

Surely most Americans agreed with him and he knew it. But it was more than his confidence in that.

He had spent years studying and understanding economic issues. And since he was a young man he felt deep in his bones that he was going to be instrumental in bringing down the Soviet Empire, whom he called the Evil Empire. And he did!

After running in and losing the presidential primary to Ford in 1976, Reagan got himself out there. He delivered over one thousand radio addresses from 1975 through 1979. He wrote them himself. How do we know this? Ever read the book, Reagan In His Own Hand: The Writings of Ronald Reagan That Reveal His Revolutionary Vision for America...?

You remember how the press tried so desperately to portray Reagan as dumb? (Get ready for that again this election. If you notice Rick Perry is already dumb, as were Sarah Palin and George Bush before him) People who read that book understood that Reagan was not dumb at all. He was a very purposeful, driven, PRO-AMERICA individual who BELIEVED in the free market and tried as president to set it free.

He succeeded with no majority in either house of Congress.

What should we hear when someone says we need jobs? Or we are too taxed? Or regulation is crushing, again?

We should hear someone stand up, like Moses, and say, "Let my people go."

I will follow anyone who finally raises that staff and parts the waters of the behemoth gubment so I can walk on dry land to the Promised Land. Because THIS, brothers and sisters of the congregation, IS the Land Of Promise.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Redistribution Of Wealth


" Scrutinize word for word the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, and you will not find the word "fair." The First Amendment does not protect the "fair" exercise of religion, but the "free" exercise thereof; it does not restrain Congress from abridging the "fairness" of speech or of the press, but the "freedom" of speech or of the press.

The modern tendency to substitute "fair" for "free" reveals how far we have moved from the initial conception of the Founding Fathers. They viewed government as policeman and umpire. They sought to establish a framework within which individuals could pursue their own objectives in their own way, separately or through voluntary cooperation, provided only that they did not interfere with the freedom of others to do likewise.

The modern conception is very different. Government has become Big Brother. Its function has become to protect the citizen, not merely from his fellows, but from himself, whether he wants to be protected or not. Government is not simply an umpire but an active participant, entering into every nook and cranny of social and economic activity. All this, in order to promote the high-minded goals of "fairness," "justice," "equality."

Does this not constitute progress? A move toward a more humane society? Quite the contrary. When "fairness" replaces "freedom," all our liberties are in danger. In Walden, Thoreau says: "If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life." That is the way I feel when I hear my "servants" in Washington assuring me of the "fairness" of their edicts. "

Milton Friedman (1912-2006)

This was published by the Future of Freedom Foundation as part of an article entitled, "Fair versus Free," written in 1992. It is totally consistent with all of what he had to say and write about throughout his career as an economist.

It cannot be added to! And when so much of our federal budget is intended, yes INTENDED, to redistribute wealth on the holier-than-thou-and-untouchable-so-called Third Rail, things are entirely out of whack. Such redistribution is as immoral as the gubment telling me that I must, MUST, purchase Twinkies for my neighbor.

It has been said, and would certainly be true if tried, that if all the money in the world was confiscated and redistributed equally among people, in a short amount of time it would go back to the distribution (which some say to be "unequal") that existed at the time of the confiscation.

What a disaster that would be if it was tried! But to attempt to pretend otherwise is stupid at best, evil at worst.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Taking From Others

"The government has nothing to give to anybody that it doesn't first take from someone else."

Henry Hazlitt (1894-1993)

Would that everybody understood that simple concept! How many people would walk around their neighborhood and knock on their neighbor's doors and ask for money to buy a Hover Round, hearing aid, breakfast and lunch for their kids to eat at school, help with their credit card interest or even another house! Not many, I expect!

And if I was king, this book would be required reading, with a test to follow, for every American! Contact me privately and I will send you your own copy! But you must promise to read it. I will test you later...

Friday, August 19, 2011


"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."

Thomas Jefferson

So why are deficits of trillions of dollars being taken, from those who are willing to work, every year from last year through the entirety of my grand childrens' lives?

Obviously, it is done with intent. And what would Mr. Jefferson see as the intent?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Self Interest

"Self interest feeds more people than self sacrifice."

James R. Cook

One of the most brilliant propositions in his book, The Wealth of Nations, published in 1776, Adam Smith said that the strength of a free market economy was because of self interest. Do not confuse that with selfishness! He said that the butcher, baker and beer maker provide our dinners because of their self interest.

They want to provide the best product possible so that we, as clients and customers, would want to come back again and again. They do it because we clients and customers provide them a better life style and standard of living as they profit from a continued and growing business relationship.

Isn't that why we all try to do the best job(s) possible? Liberty and freedom always, always work best.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Cut Spending

"If it is unnecessary to adjust the amount of expenditure to the means available, there is no limit to the spending of the great god State."

Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973)

Ever notice how gubment never gets by with less? There are never cuts in gubment spending, except perhaps for defense. Everything else is a "cut" in the rate of growth. But gubment always grows, always demands more and that can only come from one place. From you and from me.

And the biggest falsehood promulgated upon a people is that the gubment must somehow "pay" for a cut in spending OR a "cut" in taxes! Pay for it?! It can be paid for by simply spending less! What a concept.

A dollar kept in the private sector flows around the economy (called the velocity of money) more fluidly and many dozens of times more than a dollar sent to an inefficient, bloated bureaucracy which doesn't care how much waste occurs. If anyone wanted to "stimulate" the economy, a real cut in gubment spending is one of the best ways to make that happen. Think that'll ever happen?

Dream on.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Citizen Permission

Here is some wisdom, written more than half a century ago, from a future thinker, Ayn Rand.

"We are fast approaching the stage of ultimate inversion: the stage where government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission."

Ayn Rand (1905-1982)

Wow, isn't that solid? Any arguments here, from anyone other than a statist?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Potato Chips

"Government bailouts are like potato chips: You can't stop with just one."

Thomas Sowell

Whether the receiver of such bailouts is a government, business enterprise, or individual, a bailout becomes an addiction that must be fed and then fed more.

And what happens when the addicts stop getting the drugs? Just look at Greece - and see our future.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Creative Destruction

"The opening up of new markets, foreign or domestic, and the organizational development from the craft shop to such concerns as U.S. Steel illustrate the same process of industrial mutation—if I may use that biological term—that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one. This process of Creative Destruction is the essential fact about capitalism."

Joseph Schumpeter (1883-1950)

The labeling of free-market capitalism as CREATIVE DESTRUCTION is certainly brilliant! But Schumpeter felt funny about it. Why?

Marx said that the exploited proletariat would rise up and destroy capitalism. Schumpeter thought that capitalism would be destroyed by its own successes.

He thought that as people were left free to think, and innovate, and offer new products for old, this continual reshuffling of "stuff" would destroy the whole system as no product would really take hold. In business school they call that the product life cycle.

Well, Schumpeter was wrong! CREATIVE DESTRUCTION is one of the hallmarks of capitalism!

Imagine this news story on your favorite business news show:


"In a broad effort to save typewriter manufacturing jobs, Congress today took up the plight of those American workers being displaced by the new-fangled word processor, which Congressional leaders say is too difficult to operate and will never take off. Fearing the flight of typewriter manufacturing and repairing jobs to other countries, Congress today will debate a bill to prevent that flight, saving those jobs for American workers."

We laugh of course. But wait! It happened! In 1992!! I know it's hard to believe it was so recently debated!

People use the buggy whip as the best example to show some product that got displaced by technology. But I think the typewriter is the far better, and certainly more modern, example.

What jobs have been displaced by technology?

The automobile replaced the train and carriage for personal transportation. The jobs displaced included blacksmiths, wainwrights, drovers, teamsters, railroad workers and canal men. But the jobs created included assemblers, designers, engineers, mechanics, chemists, oil workers, gas stations and truck drivers. And more.

The airplane replaced the train and ocean liner for distance transportation. The jobs displaced included railroad workers, sawyers, mechanics, ship hands and boilermakers. But the jobs created included pilots, mechanics, travel agents, airport workers and flight attendants. And more.

The computer replaced adding machines, filing cabinets, slide rules and lots of paper. The jobs displaced included assemblers, millwrights, lumber men, clerks and tin smiths. But the jobs created are incalculable! And productivity exploded!

I could go on - fax machines replaced express mail; the telephone replaced mail and the telegraph; email replaced lots of postage; vaccines have replaced lots of medical equipment and technicians; the internet has replaced lots of shopping and even malls and retail locations.

And yes, I could go on and on and on!!

The people needed in these new jobs came from the displaced jobs! Do some jobs disappear altogether? Yes. But completely? No. There is always some demand somewhere for everything - even buggy whips and typewriters!


So, Dr. Schumpeter was incorrect thinking that capitalism would be destroyed, but still brilliant!

Hey, you people, go and creatively destroy what you are doing now, and replace those things with new ideas, products, techniques and more productive ways of doing things.

That is the free-market capitalist, AND AMERICAN, way!

To show that Joseph Schumpeter was human, he said he had three goals in life: to be the world's greatest economist, to be the greatest horseman in Austria (where he was born) and to be the world's greatest lover. Just before his death he confided that he was disappointed that he only accomplished two of his goals. But he didn't say which two!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Generous And Humanitarian

"Liberals love to strike generous, humanitarian poses with other people's lives."

Ann Coulter

One of the most prolific political writers of our time, and most comprehensive researchers, Miss Coulter puts out information that is very hard to debate.

Reading what she has to say on so many myths - like evolution, Senator McCarthy, liberal generosity, stem-cell research, conservative fascism, you name it - her documentation, fact checking, and forceful presentation makes an air-tight case.

Take the current budget battle. Liberalism unchecked has run up debt and taken over debt (housing, student loans) at break-neck speed. During that time, because they didn't want the transparency, no budgets were ever decided upon. Who cares that a lack of a budget is illegal.

What happened instead? Every time they got to the spending "limit" (what's the definition of the word limit?) they simply increased it! Who needs a budget when you can spend without LIMITS?

Of course, laughably, the debt is all blamed on Bush. And it is laughable! But the press will play along.

Now suddenly we must have a budget! Why? Really, why? Why not continue to take generous, humanitarian poses with the lives of our children, grandchildren and the yet to be born? REALLY, WHY NOT?

This is what nobody is saying. Employing the financial 72 rule - at 7% growth the debt doubles every 10 years. That means that the spending up until now, before health care and the rest of it, will QUADRUPLE by the time my grandson, born last October, reaches age 21 and begins his employed life.

At that time, guess who won't be working. A huge, meaning HUGE, sector of the working public now known as The Baby Boomers. This group will want its money, investment, contributions back! Who will provide it all? That's right, a smaller group.

Good luck with that.

THAT is screwing around with other people's lives. And not in a good way. But it is so very generous and humanitarian!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Lesson From Congressman Davy Crockett

One fine day in the House of Representatives, a bill was taken up appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in its support - it afforded the speakers a fine opportunity for display than from the necessity of convincing anybody, for it seemed to all that everybody favored it.

The Speaker was just about to put the question, when Crockett arose. Everybody expected, of course, that he was going to make one of his characteristic speeches in support of the bill. He commenced:

“Mr. Speaker — I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the sufferings of the living, if suffering there be, as any man in this House. But we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money."


The Market Is Wiser Than Men

"Capitalism is the belief that nobody is wise enough and knows enough to control the lives of other people. When each person buys, sells, consumes, produces, saves and spends at will, 'the miracle of the market' enables everyone to benefit."

Perry Gresham (1907-1994)

So then why would people want to order things to restrict a market's ability to benefit everyone? Why are there people who DO THINK they can do better for us than we can do for ourselves? The answer: control.

Of course, in order to so structure society, they must create offices and officers, regulations and regulators, laws and legal administrators, orders and those who order, a multiplicity of fees and taxes and a multiplicity of fee and tax collectors. This places a burden not only on the economy of a society, but its social structure.


But then, all said, that is the point isn't it?

Thomas Jefferson said it best in the Declaration of Independence. In his list (the colonists' list) of complaints against an oppressive king, whose desires and oppressions were FAR LESS than what we experience now from our "republican* government," was this phrase:

"He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance."

Is that, or is that not, where we find ourselves today?

* When I say "republican" obviously I do not mean a political party. We have a Constitutional republic in this country, based on the rule of law. Methinks and mefears it is fast disappearing.

Friday, August 5, 2011

"Capitalism Has Won"

"Socialism has been a great tragedy this century."

Robert Heilbroner (1919 - 2005)

The American economist Heilbroner was a committed socialist and OFTEN brought up by liberals as the "voice of economic reason" whenever anyone needed a good socialist sound bite or article written.

Most famous for his 1953 book, The Worldly Philosphers, which I studied in my Economic Thought class in college, he compares and unabashedly makes equals Adam Smith, Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes.

They are NOT equals.

However, over the decades he became increasingly aware that socialist thought creates no wealth, produces little and deprives the good life from the masses living under its control. He realized that it reduces freedom, necessarily, as an economy's "masters" are forced to implement laws and programs to CONTROL its people to MAKE them conform.

People naturally yearn for freedom, especially in an economic sense, and will act accordingly. This freedom, of action and of thought, cannot be allowed in socialist arenas. We call such freedoms "unalienable rights."

In fact, in 1999, he wrote a seventh edition to his famous book, in which he included for the first time a final chapter entitled "The End of Worldly Philosophy?", in which he offers a grim view of the then, and still current, state of socialist economics. He said, "capitalism has been as unmistakable a success as socialism has been a failure." He went on to compliment Milton Friedman, Freidrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises for their economic thought and contributions toward free market economics and their insistence of the free market's superiority.

In 1992 he wrote, "democratic liberties have not yet appeared, except fleetingly, in any nation that has declared itself to be fundamentally anti-capitalist." That is quite the admission from a seasoned believer!

Well, HOW CAN democratic liberties be allowed sway in a socialist economy? Freedom and control don't mix! Gorbachev figured that one out real quick!

And in a 1989 "New Yorker Magazine" article, "Less than 75 years after it officially began, the contest between capitalism and socialism is over: capitalism has won...Capitalism organizes the material affairs of humankind more satisfactorily than socialism."

We know this. Then why, why, do these people in our vaunted "administration" think to try this all over again? How come they think that this time, this time, it will work?



Thursday, August 4, 2011


“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”

Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850)

Plunder verb - to enter forcibly and steal goods from, especially during war or civil disorder.

That's from my Oxford English Dictionary. That is probably very close to the definition, if not the definition, of the word plunder as would have been understood in Bastiat's day.

When a populace is fed up with something, and makes it known that it doesn't want it, and the gubment does it anyway, is that not plunder? The public has made it substantially KNOWN that it is done with all this spending! But the plunder continues!

When a gubment sets up every one of its citizens for forcible future financial demise via a legal system they create for themselves that authorizes it and claims the moral authority to glorify it, is that not the current definition of plunder as we know it?

When nearly half of a populace is not contributing to, what is it now, oh yeah, balanced revenue enhancement, and instead are taught that they are entitled to other people's money via a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it, is that not the current definition of plunder as we know it?

Remember one of the most significant theses in the book 1984 where an entire language was changed (to the VERY, VERY politically-correct Doublespeak) in order to create a legal system that authorized plunder and a moral code that glorified it, was this:


So, let's say the gubment wants to get something as distasteful as abortion accepted by society (and "constitutional")? Well, simply change the word to "choice." How about homosexuality? Call it "gay." And when you want to euthanize grandpa for his money before "the home" gets it, what can we call that? How about "the right to die." I could go on.

Clinton tried to change the word taxes to "investments." That didn't fly. But now, since taxes, and huge, built-in, long-term, never-ending, inter-generational taxes must, that is MUST, be paid to sustain an unsustainable legal system and moral code - what do you think? Should we call it taxes, plunder or "balanced revenue enhancement?"


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Liberty Or Control?

"There is no question that if one were to ask whether we Americans are moving towards more liberty or more government control over our lives, the answer would unambiguously be the latter -- more government control over our lives. We might have reached a point where the trend is irreversible and that is a true tragedy for if liberty is lost in America, it will be lost for all times and all places."

Walter E. Williams

If it is gone here, where would it resurrect? Resurrection means bringing back what was before, and in a better state! You cannot resurrect from somewhere else what isn't there now.

And so I agree with Dr. Williams's statement.

This is similar to Ronald Reagan's proclamation, "America is a shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere."

People aren't coming here because we are smarter, bigger, faster or more beautiful than elsewhere in the world. They come here for the historically-demonstrated chance to become what freedom and opportunity will allow them to become! And to pass on that expression of individuality for their posterity. Aren't all people interested in their posterity?

I don't see boatloads of people trying to flee elsewhere for Cuba. Or China, North Korea or even "modern" Russia. There is no shining city there, no beacon, and no trend toward more liberty, despite the propaganda of some ill-minded people. The rest of the world gets it.

And so, when we have the choice between liberty and gubment control, the choice could not be clearer.

Like the first governor of my state, one Patrick Henry, I WILL TAKE LIBERTY EVERY TIME.

No Free Lunch Today

There is no more appropriate idea that flows from the free-thinking, economic mind of Milton Friedman then the idea that there is no free lunch.

If you think somebody else is responsible to buy your food for you, vote Dem. You can apply this in any of the various contexts floating around today - you name it, housing, "health" care, banking, auto production, unlimited spending, borrowing from three generations hence, your Hover 'Round, pharmaceuticals - and it goes on, you name it. If you think these things are all "free lunches" to be provided you by somebody else (read that THE GUBMENT) - vote Dem!

You can vote that way, but this country will not survive. It is UNSUSTAINABLE.

What we will all be paying for these "free lunches" will be very, very dear. And we will never get it back...

What's The Greatest Charity?

"Capital formation is the greatest charity of all."

F. A. "Baldy" Harper (1905-1973)

This is such a good thought. What is the best way to lift the masses, as so many "statists" think the gubment can do?

The best way is to let the free market develop capital.

Capitalism is so misunderstood as to be comically misapplied by people who derisively use the word "capitalism."

What is CAPITALISM? Capital is one of the four factors of production, along with land, labor and entrepreneurship (management).

Capital is anything that adds input into the production function!

Capital, in the form of machinery, can make land more productive. (Tractors)
Capital, in the form of machinery, can make labor more productive. (Printing press)
Capital, in the form of machinery, can make management more productive. (Computers)

But what is productivity? Simply - output per man hour. Shortening the time it takes to complete or produce something is productivity.

If you find a way to produce more bowling balls more quickly, buy the land to build a factory, risk your money to produce the machinery, hire people to operate that machinery and manufacture the balls, and have management find a way to distribute more balls, more quickly to more people - THAT IS PRODUCTIVITY! And everyone in that organization benefits financially. Such capital formation is a great charity program for all in that company!

Should capital be paid more? Of course! Properly employed capital returns more than was risked.

A company building roads with shovels will produce less road to the community than one building roads with mechanized pavers. And the final product of the mechanized pavers will be superior. Each company has employed capital. Which should have more return on its capital? The one that adds the most economic benefit to the surrounding area. More roads mean quicker and broader distribution of more things to more people. Everyone benefits! That's very charitable.

What is my capital as a home inspector?

  • Learned my trade as a general contractor and began home inspections before they became popular.
  • Helped to develop a computer program for organizing inspection results long before anyone else.
  • Improved my skills with educational degrees and continuing education, even now.
  • Gained experience as inspections were accomplished over the years.
  • Learned to use many tools to make my inspections more thorough and informational.
  • Marketing myself in various fashions, particularly utilizing the Internet's many opportunities.

I could probably go on. These things may seem like intangibles, but they are not. They are my capital. I am my capital. And when left free to operate in an environment conducive to business operations I can get more and more done. And I can do it better and better.

Can gubment do my job better than I? NO. Inefficiency is implicit and inevitable with size.


Free Enterprise At Work

Rent is the return to any factor of production above its supply price. That is a classical definition that I actually learned in Economics 101 a century ago. And it hasn't changed since!

When I finished my basement, I rented a drywall lifter so I could put drywall into place on the ceiling. It was really cheap, only $12/day. I needed it for only one day. But that same tool has probably been rented hundreds of times, returning far more than its initial cost or sales value. That is RENT. That is PROFIT.

When someone owns land or property and rents out a portion, it returns value to the owner the longer it is rented. Common sense.

In 1799 a young man, an investor, named David Ricardo, read a book called The Wealth Of Nations, written in 1776 by Adam Smith. He was so impressed that David went into economics.

He is best known for two theories, that of comparative advantage and that of differential rent.

Farmers in his day would haul great wagon loads of goods to sell in town at the farmer's market. They set up tents and tables and in hand-made boxes would offer vegetables and wares for sale. The merchants in town complained to the town managers that these farmers should be taxed because they had an unfair advantage. They did not have to pay rent! They could set up shop virtually anywhere, for free!

David Ricardo looked at the horses, and wagons, and all the supplies necessary to set up a mobile shop and said, "That's rent." These needed materials were factors of production that had initial costs, but were, over time, returning more than they were worth. The costs to set up at the farmer's market were defined as rent. It was no different than having to pay rent in a shop in town. It was a different kind of rent, but rent nonetheless.

Why the econ lesson?

I ran across this the other day at a local garden center. I immediately thought of David Ricardo. That happens to you when you are out and about, right? For sure...

This barbecue shows up on weekends. It is a very popular spot. It does a brisk business.

I don't know if he is charged rent to set up his shop. Maybe he is related to the garden center's family and gets to set up for free.  It doesn't matter.

This is free enterprise at work.

You are looking at private property, owned both by the garden center and barbecue caterer, that is being used freely, voluntarily and in a way that is mutually beneficial. Some people come to the center to shop, stop to eat, and shop some more. Other people come just for the barbecue and while there stop in for a couple of plants or whatever. It is symbiotic, voluntary, free exchange.

There are tables that encourage all to linger. And the food is good! Of course one thing leads to another!

You are looking at the caterer's capital. He invested a lot of money in that van, had to pay various (and ongoing) licensing and inspection fees, obtain certificates and permission from government authorities, find a place to set up shop and begin selling his wares. When he first got the idea I bet he had NO idea how it would come to fruition. But he took the risk.

Capital is both a good that produces and is a produced good.

The relationship you are looking at is the very ESSENCE of capitalism. Capital is a factor of production, any factor of production, that returns profit to the risk taker, the entrepreneur. Capitalism is a relationship between two parties, freely exchanged, voluntarily exchanged and for mutual benefit. But it is risky! You can lose your shirt. There are no guarantees. Success in a capitalist society requires education, skills, drive and ability.

Yes, it's true - some don't fit in. But mostly everyone does in some fashion. It is the Biblical law of the harvest - you get out of it what you put into it. And it will work and work and work, unless it is interrupted by some "authority" or "central planner" that thinks it can make decisions from afar that are better made individually or by the market. And all in the name of "protection." That is NOT the invisible hand proposed by Adam Smith. It is a very visible one. And a detrimental one.

Such intervention DOES NOT WORK.

I set up shop nearly 30 years ago as a home inspector. And as a home inspector, what is MY capital?