Okay, I said I wouldn’t say anything more about the situation in Ferguson, Missouri. But I couldn’t pass this up.
Like I said before, it’s not just about possible police brutality or crime. It’s about economics, too, and the economic policies in inner-cities are absolutely wretched, as Ryan McMaken, the editor of Mises Daily and The Free Market, explains.
These background circumstances have to be understood in order to comprehend the behavior of people who loot their local businesses and riot in the street. A high minimum wage, constricting regulations, poor quality of public education, and low skills leaves many people with few opportunities in the workforce and even less as entrepreneurs. The financial inability to own the property also translates into feeling as though the business owners in the areas are not a part of their community, which explains why they will turn on them during times of strife.
The most notable aspects of this are the minimum wage and the high cost of entry for small business into the economy.
For many residents of inner cities, entering the economy as an entrepreneur or wage earner is out-and-out illegal. In a place like Ferguson, a young person is prevented from working full time during much of his youth thanks to mandatory school attendance laws. If he misses school, he and his parents are harassed by police, and possibly arrested and left to face economic ruin. Upon graduating, the young person, thanks to the public schools, then faces the world with few marketable skills.
He is employable at some level, but as a low-productivity worker, the only entry-level wage he can command is at a level below the minimum wage. In this situation, federal law dictates that he shall remain unemployed indefinitely. Consequently, unemployment among black teenagers is over 20 percent. Common sense tells us that the best way a new public-school grad can attain any marketable skills is by working at a job. And yet, these jobs are all closed to him by law.
If our public-school grad then attempts to turn to legal self-employment, he will find himself similarly out of luck because the cost of entry into the economy as a small business owner has been raised to a largely-unattainable level by government regulation. Licensing, and compliance with OSHA, EEOC, forced “tolerance,” and a bevy of other regulations render the small business avenue closed for someone in such a community. Even if such a person manages to somehow acquire an automobile in spite of all the licenses, taxes, and certifications required, he can’t even rent out the car or drive customers for money without special permission from the government. Certainly some people are able to come from within the community and succeed under these conditions, but if your economy requires near-heroic levels of perseverance and luck just to open a burger stand, there is something deeply wrong with your economy.
How can we be the least surprised, then, when people in these communities simply give up or turn to black markets (i.e., illegal entrepreneurship such as drug dealing) to make a living?
Read the entire article here.
There is more to this than a simple police shooting. Heavy handed tactics by police department is not the cause of the problem in Ferguson, Missouri. Removing the police entirely would not solve their issues. It is rather the product of misguided economic regulations that encourage crime when the legal means of earning a living are artificially restricted. Crime in turn begets a police force unable to maintain the peace. Tension and animosity brew.
If they want to diffuse the situation, then remove the regulations that make it impractical to earn a decent living. Remove the minimum wage to allow low skilled workers access to entry-level jobs and gain experience. Get the government out of the education system and allow communities to educate their children or to learn on their own.
I think you know as well as I do, however, it’s better off to expect more of the same.
And thus it continues. If people have no hope of improving their lot in life by living the decent way, they will live by whatever means they can. When even that is taken away, they turn desperate.