Missed Opportunity in Texas

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Were it not for the bad punchline, the following, from a blog post by a fan of electric cars, would be quite amusing:

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.

-- CAV


Steve D said...

"The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody had decided not to see."
And I would add the most frustrating response (that I get a lot and I suspect Ayn Rand did as well) is not an argument, but a blank stare (and a quick change of the subject)
Electric cars? Really? I’m waiting until they invent one powered by moonlight.
It appears they’ve come up with an even less sensible idea than minimum wage laws – or at least one even more obvious that it’s a bad idea on so many levels. Electric cars aren’t even a good idea on the environmentalists own terms. If you run the calculations you can see they (indirectly) require more combustion energy than gasoline powered cars; albeit if you consider the difference in the processing of the fuel, they are only slightly worse. Similar deal with recycling newspapers.
On the other hand, a thorium-powered car; that would be a good idea on many levels and with a cool moniker.

Gus Van Horn said...

Oh, and if I recall correctly, the batteries of electric cars make them pretty bad on the toxic waste front as well.