A recent post related the story of a well-intentioned mandate from a state government to all nursing homes that, naturally, had the unintended consequences of hurting the very people it was intended to help. While not the main lesson, it was perhaps a subtext.
Of course, from a libertarian perspective, I’ll also suggest that it is simply a microcosm in the larger battle of Socialism vs. Capitalism. (Hang with me here.) 🙂
While I’ve compared the two “isms” in previous posts, this case simply points out – again, on a small scale – why central planning of any kind is so counter-productive. How, by its very nature, it must be.
Consider: every day, billions of tiny, small, medium, and large transactions take place between two or more willing parties, each making their decisions based on what they believe is best. It may not always work out correctly, but that’s part of living in a free society. However, if you want a whole bunch of decisions that are often much worse, ask a centralized government to make all of those decisions for us.
Even with good intentions, a relatively small group of bureaucrats in Washington, DC simply cannot know what’s best for hundreds of millions of individuals.
Now – and this is where it gets scary – consider all the rules and regulations handed down by our “lawmakers” on both sides of the aisle, not with good intention but rather the result of special-interest lobbyists having bought and paid for those regulations, laws, etc. And, this is far more often the case.
Yes, placing the decisions and well-being of hundreds of millions of individuals in the hands of a centralized few ends up working only for the ruling elite.
Capitalism, on the other hand, works for the benefit of all. Even the poor are significantly better off in a truly Capitalistic society than are their counterparts in less economically free countries. And please, before you write an angry letter asking, “what about corporations buying government favors?”…that is not Capitalism; it is Corporatism, and it is just as bad.
Only true Capitalism – where government’s limited and legitimate functions are protecting its citizenry from force and fraud – has proven to provide an opportunity where people – both as individuals and as a society – can thrive and reach their greatest potential.