Tag Archives: freedom

Market Forces Continue to Work to Your Benefit

Subway announced on Thursday, February 6th, 2014 that it has unilaterally decided to remove an ingredient (azodicarbonamide) approved by the US FDA for use as an “aging and bleaching agent” used in flour in a concentration not to exceed 2.05 grams per 100 pounds.  Presumably the azodicarbonamide makes bread products whiter and “bouncier” and is used by a number of fast-food chains, restaurants and groceries across the nation.  The ingredient is banned for similar use in Great Britain, the European Union and Australia.

Subway’s action was prompted by Vani Hari, an activist food blogger, who has gone after other restaurants and food companies for their use of controversial ingredients.

As of February 9th, Senator NY Chuck Schumer (D) chose not to miss the opportunity to capitalize politically on the announcement by Subway.  He has called for the FDA to outright ban the ingredient for such use.

In my view this presents another example of the free market imposing discipline upon itself to improve the products and services provided.  This has occurred despite a fully funded FDA.  I mention this as the incentive to monitor the market independently is reduced as people rely on the various agencies to perform the tasks assigned to them.  So where was the state leading the charge for your safety?  How is it that an activist blogger is the entity responsible for this improvement?  Is this not an example of how market discipline is imposed by activists, competitors and consumers.

Subway is using this to position itself better against its competitors as an even healthier alternative.

Another example of how a free market would work (as it has worked in a hampered market).


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The Incoherence of “Revolutionaries”

Recently we discussed a Russell Brand interview with Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight on the Annoying Peasant Radio Show.

Mr. Brand makes an impassioned plea for change; a paradigm shift, in his words.  He does so recognizing there is something wrong, that the system does not serve the many, that working within the confines of an apathetic, flawed system cannot improve our condition in a meaningful way; at least not to the extent that is radical enough to make a significant improvement.

To do as Mr. Brand suggests, we must fully understand the current circumstance, identify its contradictions, and propose an alternative that eliminates these errors and ensures that we do not add new inconsistencies.

So what is it about this paradigm that causes Mr. Brand to advocate change?  He claims that the current system underserves the disadvantaged; the poor.  I assume that Mr. Brand speaks of the permanent underclass, perpetual poverty, the disenfranchised.  (There is much more to our current circumstance, but I will limit the scope of the objection to the state to this argument.)

From the broader perspective we must understand, the current system, the state, has but one tool at its disposal.  Ludwig von Mises describes this tool and therefore the state itself as force.  Everything that the state contemplates or does must either be backed by the threat of force or is in fact the use of force.  And to be subjected to force is in direct contrast with man’s nature to be free.  It is this contrast that is the root cause of the problem of social order.  The use of aggressive force – the systematic disrespect for property rights (based on self ownership) creates the conflict in which society finds itself.  It creates a permanent underclass.  No meaningful improvement in man’s condition is possible until this reality is recognized and addressed.

As a result, the only paradigm shift is represented in support for property rights (in concert with self ownership).  All other proposals are the use of aggressive force wrapped in a different package – slavery in a different form.  They represent a reorganization of the chairs on the deck of the Titanic and do not address the impending doom of the ship.

Mr. Brand makes an effort to deflect the consistent questioning of the precise description of his proposed paradigm shift.  In the end he relents and exposes his ignorance of economic law.  He expresses his support for the use of aggressive force to create a new order.  He advocates the use of aggressive force to offer relief to those that have been especially victimized by the use of aggressive force.  He makes the classic error.

The only relief available to all (including those in perpetual poverty) is first to recognize the error of the present paradigm, to make the adjustment to eliminate the systematic imposition of aggressive force and to support the property right of self ownership.  The tool at the disposal of the citizenry to affect this change is the most powerful, knowledge.

With education, the citizenry are destined to enjoy the tranquility of peace and to unlock the full potential of the human creative spirit.

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