Possibly the best work being done to expose the outdated stupidity of Industrial Age bureaucracy in the Information Age is Fox Business Channel’s John Stossel, who frequently shows the hassles that innovative entrepreneurs with ideas for 21st century business models have to deal with as they rub up against government.
In this episode of his show on FBN, he outlines two of those embattled ideas. First, he hires himself out as a Lyft driver in Los Angeles to demonstrate how the rideshare company creates a safe, fun and inexpensive customer experience utilizing technology and the concept of online reputation as a quality-control feature. Naturally, taxicab companies and their paid-for government regulators are busy throwing legal roadblocks in Lyft’s way in order to protect their market share. And next, he explores another budding business – people who rent space in their apartments to tourists through sites like Roomarama – which is under attack from the hotel industry and its bought politicians.
A true free market wouldn’t have these kinds of obstacles to new business – or even new industry – development. And as Stossel shows, the arguments being made against such a free market are suspect at best.
After all, if government regulation insured quality control, then how come Bernie Madoff was able to fleece so many of his investors?
We’re finding out that online reputation – developed through customer ratings (and provider ratings as well) – can be just as useful in promoting consistent quality than burdensome rules, and with virtually none of the overhead and red tape the rules necessitate. Those resources get shared across the board, from lower prices to the consumer, to higher profits to the provider, to a smaller and less burdensome public sector which doesn’t need to maintain government office space, pay pensions, deal with unions or spend time constantly adjusting public policy in an effort to address the inadequacy of current rules.
In an information society, the market is far better positioned to regulate itself than it was in the Industrial Age. Riders of Lyft, or renters from Roomarama, understand that a lot better than the hack bureaucrats and politicians trying to shut those businesses down.