Most people probably think of the use of force as something that criminals do. However the greatest users of force are not criminals, but organized groups and businesses. They do not use “force” themselves, but instead they now use the law enforcement powers of “government” which is generally the legal user of force in modern society. They use policemen, lawyers, the courts instead of “muscle” and guns as a criminal organization would do. And governments generally have much more “power” when you get down to it than even the largest of criminal organizations.
Getting the government to use “force” in your behalf is now commonplace today. Professional organizations, labor unions, businesses, all employ the use of force by “government” to get their own way. To force everyone else to pay more for their services. The professions all employ the force of government to prevent “competition” by anyone who might be willing to provide the same services for less money. Then often today to obtain a service, you have to deal with someone who effectively has a government enforced monopoly over both services and certain materials. The doctor, backed by prescription laws that give him or her a government provided monopoly over access to medical drugs certainly earns a higher income than they would earn without these laws. So the doctor is using “force” to prevent you from legally buying medical drugs without first obtaining his or her “permission” and paying a fee of say $150 just to buy a blood pressure drug. One that you could buy at Wal Mart for $10 for a 90 day supply. The doctor relies upon the policeman’s gun to enforce his monopoly. One that allows him or her a higher income than they could enjoy without prescription laws…
Of course doctors aren’t the only ones who benefit by the force of government. Lawyers do very well too. Various licensing laws require a lawyer to do tasks that people with considerably less training and education could do just as well. As lawyers tend to be vastly over represented in Congress, it’s simple to see how they managed to get so many laws passed in their favor. Rather like hiring foxes to guard your hen house! It’s safe to say that the foxes would eat very well at your expense. The same thing holds true today with all the licensed professions and occupations. Government supplied monopoly is so common today that we hardly notice it anymore until we realize how much more money we’re paying out for their services than what we’d pay without the government licensing people so they can earn incomes well above what they’d earn without the government standing there behind them with its guns. Effectively they are using the government to “steal” from you. Overcharging you for their services just because they can. They’ve bought “protection” and you’re paying the price for it!
Next we should consider all the businesses that provide goods and/or services that also enjoy using the force of government to enjoy the benefits of a legal monopoly. On my cable bill there is a charge for a “franchise fee”. This fee, which is part of the bill, is the money that the cable company pays my local government to insure that no one else will be allowed to compete with them. A little quick math shows that the city gets about $60,000 a year off of this for effectively doing “nothing”. To the city this is “free money”. Not that much difference from the “Mafia” collecting a fee for “protection”. The only difference is that the city can do this legally, which the Mafia can’t do… Then the cable companies have attempted to get laws passed that city governments can’t compete with them in the provision of broadband services. They had to go to state governments to try to get this. The power companies don’t like cities owning power plants either. Kinda like one set of crooks going to the big “boss” to complain that another set of crooks is setting up in competition with them… The only trouble is that we the people are the ones who end up paying for all this! A lot of these businesses are unionized and that’s another group that uses “force” to get its own way today. As these businesses can easily pass the added cost on to the consumer, they don’t care.
I’m taking a guess that all of this stuffs raises our cost of living by a couple of trillion dollars if not more. Or about $6.000 per capita. $24,00 for a family of four. No wonder we’re in debt so much. What can we do about it? That’s something I’ll leave for next time.