(Un)Free Markets and the Diminishing of Choice
In this column, I argue that market restrictions (such as high taxes, expensive licenses and permits, and zoning regulations) diminish consumer choice and business innovation by restricting or even preventing competition in the marketplace.
By Michael Kleen
In a truly free market, the number of products (or choices) would only be limited by the amount of resources, the number of potential consumers, and the imaginations of the merchants and manufacturers. If the market was broad enough for a hundred different kinds of shoes, for example, then customers would enjoy a hundred different options when it came time to purchase footwear.
Some shoes would be costly and made of the finest quality, others would cost much less and be made of cheaper material, and still others would appeal to both frugality and durability. Whatever a customer desired would be made available, because the retailers could be assured of a steady stream of profit. If the market for shoes constricted, shoe merchants and manufacturers would close down and go into business catering to some other need.
The street outside of the Change of Pace in Macomb, Illinois come closing time is a perfect example of a free market in action…