Economics, Free Enterprise

Big Government and Big Food vs. small businesses and food trucks

Image Credit: miker/Shutterstock

Image Credit: miker/Shutterstock

Thursday is the first event in the Culture of Competition initiative, “Big government and big food vs. food trucks, foodies, and farmers markets.” A panel of experts on the industry will discuss big government and increased regulation’s effects on small businesses, food safety, farms, and food trucks. Timothy P. Carney, a visiting fellow at AEI and a prominent figure in the Culture of Competition Project, spoke to AEIdeas about the event and the initiative as a whole.

Where does food regulation fit in with competition in the industry?

Carney explains food regulation is a way in which bigger companies can subvert competition and crush smaller businesses. He explains how restaurants in Washington are in favor of stricter regulations to ensure their own business is not threatened by smaller food companies or newer business models.

Why do you believe promoting competition in the economy is so important?

Carney observes that believers in the free market confused pro-free market with being pro-business. In addition, there is an increased focus on the problems of “crony capitalism”. The Culture of Competition initiative is an important way to illustrate the difference between competition and cronyism. Ultimately, the economy is poorer due to profit being separated from creating value.

What does the future hold for competition and government regulation in the American economy?

Carney observes the role of government has been on a steady incline. He believes government is clamping down on competition, to the point where businesses are prescribed how they should be making profits. Carney concludes that part of the problem is a lack of a moral defense of capitalism.

Timothy P. Carney will be moderating the event on February 28, 2013. The event can be watched on live stream here.

3 thoughts on “Big Government and Big Food vs. small businesses and food trucks

  1. I think when it is asserted that food trucks are being unfairly penalized compared to bricks/mortar restaurants and the narrative proceed to say that crony capitalism is the reason behind it – that it’s not the whole simple reality.

    Who eats at a food truck when the weather is nasty or they need to go to the bathroom?

    the Restaurant has to maintain a premises that provides more than just food-to-mouth-while-you-stand – facilities that cost money. Water/sewer hooks up cost money and disposal of trash costs money and property taxes are paid to maintain sidewalks and streets and police and fire protection.

    who is going to pay to provide these things? In brick/mortar restaurants, the patrons do – embedded in the price of their meal.

    do street vendors pay, for instance, their share of maintaining the streets and sidewalks or police and fire?

    where do people put their trash when they are done? does it go into receptacles that are then picked up and emptied by someone who is not paid for by the street vendors?

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