Philip K. Howard, lawyer and author, known for his books Death of Common Sense and The Lost Art of Drawing the Line, today published an interesting essay on his website the Common Good (and also in this Saturday’s Wall Street Journal in somewhat shorter form) about the over-regulation of our lives and businesses in the present world. This writing began with the news that county officials in Bethesda, Maryland last summer had shut down a children’s lemonade stand because the children failed to procure a license. Now, if there is anything that is the quintessential image budding entrepreneurship, it is the kid setting up a lemonade stand on the curb. That being so, Montgomery County soon backed down after their idiocy garnered national attention, but Howard points our that it is symptomatic of the bureaucratic mentality that bestsets our country in this brave new world.
Howard’s writing is published on the same day of Associated Press reports that the House of Representatives passed a bill whose purpose is to reduce the number of federal regulations, and that the U.S. Labor Department has proposed new regulations restricting the work that children may perform on farms. The Democrat controlled Senate will probably reject the bill, and the President has threatened to veto it. The farm labor regulations will probably be implemented.
Considering Howard’s essay and the contemporaneous news stories, is it really a surprise that manufacturers of goods and providers of services are moving their facilities to China and elsewhere?
2 replies on “Can’t make lemonade out of these lemons”
China: where children work cheaply and for long hours, to say nothing of political prisoners. But let those corporations make those big bucks . . .
Gary, I'm sure you realize that “corporations” are owned by equity shareholders and other investors — all humans, not Vulcans or Klingons. Many, if not the majority whom are owned through various pension and retirement plans. I sincerely hope that corporations in which I invest get rich. The fact that other countries have a different view of how there society is ordered is not my concern, unless it threatens our national security. I should note that the overall standards of living in nations the U.S. does business with have risen. China under Mao was ten times as oppressive and 100 times poorer. Europeans were 99 percent peasants before free-market capitalism took hold. Our so-called 99% has smart-phones and ipads, and the only concern they have for food as whether to have burgers or pizza. This kind of beneficial progress doesn’t happen overnight. Some things take time.