I could become an incandescent bulb pusher once the prohibition takes effect. I don’t think drug prohibition makes any sense, but I have no desire to get into that market. Customers and competitors are an ugly lot and I really don’t want to go to prison. But selling light bulbs — now there’s something I could do!
In 2007, when Congress passed legislation that would gradually ban old school incandescent light bulbs, they added a carrot to the pile of sticks: A $10 million dollar prize to encourage the development of a cheap, green, domestic light bulb to replace the dearly departed Edison model. 5 years later, that bulb is coming to a hardware store near you. It will cost you 50 bucks. It also fails to meet many of the original prize specifications.
If you want to know why so many Americans feel alienated from their government, you need only go to Target and check out the light bulb aisle. Instead of the cheap commodities of yesteryear, you’ll find what looks like evidence of a flourishing, technology-driven economy.
Is the free market an individualist or collectivist social arrangement? Don’t answer too quickly. It’s a trick question. Most people — free-market friend and free-market foe alike — will answer “individualist.” And that makes perfect sense. The free market describes a political/legal environment in which individuals are at liberty to engage in any peaceful activity, with only force and fraud prohibited. No one may aggressively interfere with another human being’s peaceful projects.