Tracing consequences both seen and unseen.
Eric D. DixonMarkets Make Everything Better
Posted at 2:17 am on March 31, 2010, by Eric D. Dixon

David Boaz reminds us just how amazing markets are when they’re allowed to work:

In 1982, Motorola produced the first portable mobile phone. It weighed about 2 pounds and cost $3995. Within a very few years they were much smaller, much cheaper, and selling like hotcakes.

Today there are some 4.6 billion mobile phones in the world, and counting, or about 67 per every 100 people in the world. The newer ones allow you to carry in your hand more computing power than the computers that put Apollo 11 on the moon. You can cruise the internet, find your location with GPS, read books, send texts, pay bills, process credit cards, watch video, record video, stream video to the web, take and send photos — oh, and make phone calls from just about anywhere. Unimaginable just a few years ago.

And to celebrate this incredible achievement, Slate and the New America Foundation are holding a forum titled “Can You Hear Me Now? Why Your Cell Phone is So Terrible.”

This is an old story. Markets, property rights, and the rule of law provide a framework in which technology and prosperity soar, and some people can only complain.

Read the whole thing.

This reminds me of the inspiring book by Stephen Moore and Julian Simon, It’s Getting Better All the Time: Greatest Trends of the Last 100 Years. The state smacks down the economy every day with its gigantic dead hand, and yet efficiency still finds a way through in many ways, continually improving our lives. Eliminating as much of that dead-weight regulatory loss as possible will absolutely make the world a better place.

[Cross-posted at Shrubbloggers.]

Filed under: Market Efficiency
Comments: 5 Comments


  1. […] at The Lesson Applied.] — Eric D. DixonComments (0) […]

    Pingback by The Shrubbloggers » Markets Make Everything Better — 2010-03-31 @ 2:19 am

  2. Brings to mind a hilarious bit of stand up comedy:

    Comment by Steve Burrows — 2010-03-31 @ 5:49 pm

  3. Just yesterday, people asked me on IRC, “If the free market is so great, why does cell phone service suck so much?” When I replied, “In my opinion, it works great!”, they laughed at me.

    But I was at PAX East, with 50,000 technically-inclined geeks, and there was almost no drop in service. Thanks AT&T and Apple!

    Comment by Lee Sharpe — 2010-03-31 @ 8:11 pm

  4. […] version of this Cafe Hayek blog entry. It’s a theme that bears repeating often, such as in my blog entry from last night — or, as one of our commenters reminded me in this Louis CK appearance on “Late Night With […]

    Pingback by The Lesson Applied » Shout Out to Cafe Hayek — 2010-04-01 @ 2:28 am

  5. Also cool – and a great example of the market at work – is the use of cell phone minutes as currency in some places, most-notably Africa.

    Just imagine if the FCC didn’t control the spectrum – I wonder how different the market here would look…

    Comment by Pete Eyre — 2010-05-09 @ 11:33 pm

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Henry Hazlitt"[T]he whole of economics can be reduced to a single lesson, and that lesson can be reduced to a single sentence. The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups."
Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson






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