Mail: info@asinstitute.org




The Consumer - Victim of Statism

During the 20th century, 200,000,000 people became the victim of state violence and lost their precious lives. But even more people became victims of another type of state tyranny and that is tyranny against consumers by denying them the many benefits from free trade.



by Aslam Effendi

During the 20th century, 200,000,000 people became the victim of state violence and lost their precious lives. But even more people became victims of another type of state tyranny and that is tyranny against consumers by denying them the many benefits from free trade.

It is an unchallengeable truth that free trade benefits manufacturers, buyers, sellers and consumers; but when the state controls the economy or interferes with the economy, all parties suffer except a few who control trade for their own economic benefit or the benefit of their cronies under the cover of statism. This means that 100 per cent free trade is never possible as long as the system of statism exists on this planet. However, those countries with less free trade restrictions benefit more than those countries with more trade restrictions.

Statism has divided trade into two sections – one section is domestic trade and the other section is international trade: this is indeed unfortunate, for in trade there is no such thing as domestic trade or international trade, all trade is one because the whole world is one market. And when the whole world is treated as one market, the consumer has a big choice to buy the quality items at the price that suits him from any country that could meet his requirement. Similarly, manufacturers could import those items that they need for production, thus enabling them to make good quality items at the most attractive rates. Free trade could also benefit manufacturers by enabling them not only to import good material for manufacturing good things but also inviting labor from those countries where labor is cheap. This would not only help to reduce the price of the products they produce but also provide jobs for millions.

Free trade doesn’t mean bilateral trade or trade between two countries with the blessings of the state. Genuine free trade means free trade with all the countries on this planet without any political and economic restrictions. There is so much talk about the world being a “global village” but in reality industrialists and businessmen are imprisoned within the artificial walls of so many states scattered like cancer cells throughout the planet.

Let me give a few examples of how statism raises the price of various items artificially making the consumers the worst victims of economic exploitation. States protect those domestic industries that are producing substandard items and thus deny consumers to buy similar items, far cheaper and of better quality, from other countries. The state protection of inefficient industries has the blessings of those in power and who have their own economic interest in protecting such dying industries.

So many industries die even before they start because of bureaucratic restrictions: for example, in Pakistan an industrialist has to deal with over 50 different unproductive government departments run by bureaucrats who are no better than parasites. So many industries are killed by the tax department; and those that survive are taxed heavily, the burden ultimately falling on the shoulders of the unfortunate consumers. The customs check posts charge custom duty on certain items that raise the price of imported items ten times above the market rates.

Those businessmen who, at great risk of their lives, provide consumers with certain banned items are dubbed as “smugglers”; their goods seized and many are imprisoned, although in trade there is no such thing as “smuggling”, because when God created this planet He did not mark it with artificial frontiers. Denying the consumer the right to buy certain items, with his own money, is the worst form of state tyranny.

Politicians and bureaucrats, under the umbrella of statism, talk about world peace, brotherhood of mankind; about the world having become a global village; about poverty alleviation; but all this is empty talk as long as consumers become victims of state tyranny; all this is empty talk as long as consumers are denied the benefits of free trade and a one world market.

 

---------

 

Aslam Effendi has authored three books which will be published both in English and Urdu by Alternate Solutions Institute, Lahore. For Details read “Aslam Effendi – A Free Marketeer in Pakistan” in FreePakistan Newsletter # 7
 



Photo Gallery