My brother submitted this piece on our wonderful free-market system. I’m sure I’ll be posting the link to his own blog soon.

    Free market baby. That’s the answer to everything. I too love a visit to my local Mega-Super-Duper-extra Large-In-Sam-We-Trust-Mart (see also: Cosco, Target, Home Depot, Lowes, etc..) to purchase household goods on the cheap. However, I do not frequent the store regularly because it’s a hassle. You have to park in the next county, deal with the herd of stampeding value shoppers (I’m being kind with that description. Have you ever been to Wal-Mart on a Saturday afternoon?… I’ve never seen so many “I’m with Stupid” shirts in my life…..), and be willing to settle on only two choices of macaroni & cheese brands, one of which is in a green and light green colored box named “Sam’s Cheezee Tubes” … Now with more orange powder! …. (No offense Matt, but, Mac & Cheese is like dishwashing detergent, you gotta buy the name brand version).

    The point is this. Our free market system gives me the choice to go to a warehouse to spend my money or to go to my neighborhood Ace Hardware and spend, perhaps a little more money, but with ample parking, less crowds and six different types of Toggle bolts to mull over as I enjoy a few free powder doughnuts and a cup of coffee from the table in the front of the store. Mmmmm…..Doughnuts…..

    And, the free market also provides a solution for those concerned about late-night deliveries and traffic. If this is troublesome to you, you could sell your home (Note: a lot of home buyers want to be near businesses and major roadways, so don’t assume this is a negative) and relocate to a more rural area. Do a little homework on the town or area you are considering. Find out what the town’s governing body’s position is on zoning and growth. There are tons of communities out there that pride themselves (to a snobbish degree in a lot of cases) on their opposition to any change, growth or development.

    I realize selling your home and moving may not be very practical. But, it is the free market’s answer to the problem. Try doing that in North Korea when the state puts its proletariat Ian “Clothing and Food Stuff Store Number 841” in your backyard.

    One more thing. Wal-Mart and the like are nothing more than “mom & pop’s” all grown up. They pay taxes, hire people and contribute to the community. Just on a larger scale. That larger scale allows them to leverage their buying power to lower the prices you pay. I think anti-capitalists like to assume that their power increases exponentially to the point that competition is all but extinguished. That’s not so. There will always be niches in our free markets that encourage entrepreneurs to reach for the brass ring.

    The company I work for, State Farm Insurance, started out insuring Illinois farmers because our founder thought they should pay less premiums than the city folk did up in Chicago. Up to that point in 1923, insurers lumped everyone together when pricing their products. The country folks drove fewer miles, the driving they did do was on rural roads absent of congestion and they had fewer accidents than did their city counterparts. Why then were they considered the same risk by the insurers and charged the same premiums as Chicagoans?

    What a novel idea, a niche, if you will. Now, 80 years later, State Farm insures more cars than any other company in the nation. Are there other “start-up” insurance companies out there looking for and finding niche insurance markets and competing with State Farm? You bet. Ain’t it great…

Well said, except for the bit about Mac & Cheese. This is the only product which forces one to avoid the generic brand. Guess I’m choosy.