Wednesday, June 05, 2013
Texas is one of those states where it is actually illegal for an automaker to sell its products directly to its customers. They are forced to go through a dealership network, which is fine for the big, established players, but is a huge barrier to entry for startups like Tesla [an electric car manufacturer --ed].It's amusing for a moment to see that government interference with the economy has greens (of all people!) in a tizzy. But the above raises a good point, intentionally or not. Texas is, after all, one of the few states in the nation that has seen an increase in the number of available jobs during the economic depression, and has a reputation for being pro-business.
Those last two things do not mean, however, that Texas is a shining example of capitalism. This silly example of the state meddling in commerce is hardly the only one. Worse, while one government hand is in your pocket, religious conservatives there are working around the clock to put the other government hand straight into your pants. Texas does not have a capitalist economy: It is merely among the less-completely government-run ones in the United States.
It is as revealing to see anti-capitalists admit the advantages of free markets (when they imagine that they have a superior product) as it is to see allegedly pro-growth politicians give us "sales tax holidays" instead of repeals or even so much as floating a propoal for sunsetting them. Either capitalism is good, in which case why aren't they embracing it, or it isn't, in which case why complain about government meddling and theft? In any event, things like this are worth remembering the next time some anti-capitalist (admitted or not) blames "capitalism" (i.e., our mixed economy) for some economic debacle or for the failure of some pet cause to set the populace on fire.
We don't have capitalism, and there are some ideas that are so bad that they would fail in any scenario in which individuals have even a modicum of personal freedom. That being the case, it's too bad that Tesla can't sell directly in Texas: We could watch Tesla flounder amid spectacular prosperity.