Carpe Diem

50 ways that people are working around State obstacles and ‘leaving Leviathan.’ And 50 ways may soon become 50,000

Max Borders and Jeffrey Tuckers wrote an article in FEE recently that listed 50 ways that people are working around State obstacles and “leaving Leviathan.” Here are a few key excerpts from the article (and 10 of my favorite examples of creative destruction and “leaving Leviathan”):

State management of society is not only contrary to human liberty; it is also unworkable. It cannot achieve what it seeks to achieve, which is often all-round control of some sector of economic and social life. The attempt provokes a social backlash. People find loopholes and workarounds or just invent new ways to make progress possible. This is because people will not be caged. They struggle to be free and sometimes they succeed.

In our times, innovation has provided people with more tools. And often they use these tools to get around the barriers that politicians and bureaucrats have erected. Some of us take note of them every day. And while we may revel in their cleverness, we don’t take time to look at the big picture. Here is where this phenomenon of small ways to break out from and break down the system—which pop culture often labels “breaking bad”—gets really interesting.

Here are just 50 ways people are working around State obstacles (here are 10 of my favorite examples, see the full list at the article link):

1. Airbnb: This service allows people to rent out their homes for a couple of days. It offers competitive prices compared to hotels and gets around the whole of the regulatory apparatus, zoning control, union monopolies, and other barriers to entry. Of course, in some states, hotel cartels aren’t happy.

2. Uber: Taxis have their licenses, which drive up fares. It’s a cozy and well-protected cartel. Uber lets you get around this system, finding great rides in clean cars for better fares—all while checking (gasp! unlicensed) chauffeurs with reputation ratings.

3. Concierge healthcare: Doctors are opting out of Obamacare and the third-party payer system. Pay them up front and pay them out of pocket. Get the care you need and go buy a catastrophic plan if you can (instead of taking whatever’s on the Obamacare exchanges).

4. 3-D printing: Not only will people circumvent unconstitutional gun restrictions (like Cody Wilson has), but people will be able easily to get around patents and regulations by printing their own high-flow showerheads. When everyone is a maker, no one is regulated.

5. P2P lending: Prosper and Lending Club let people bypass big incumbent banks and crowdfund as borrowers and lenders. Where there is communication, there are deals being made.

6. The raw milk movement: The government has tried for decades to suppress this unpasteurized brew, but fans won’t be stopped. Buyers’ clubs are everywhere. The more the feds crack down, the more the demand for the product grows.

7. Medical marijuana/decriminalization: States are relaxing their prohibitions on marijuana. It’s becoming increasingly clear that the drug war is lost and that some drugs, like cannabis, have real therapeutic value. Regardless, prohibition is a fool’s errand and punitive measures are increasingly viewed as cruel and unnecessary. Even as the crackdowns continue, these are the first signs of the Drug War’s obsolescence and popular dissent.

8. Private schooling/homeschooling: If you don’t like the government schools, take your kids out. Millions of families are doing it. Some are even forming virtual coops and getting content from online sources.

9. Online education: Are you after a real education or a signaling mechanism? MOOCs and other online sources (like Khan Academy) are reducing the costs of education—away from the inflated guild of higher ed and publicly funded indoctrination camps.

10. Food trucks: Bricks-and-mortar restaurants love regulations because they can keep a boot on the necks of competitors. That’s why cities that tolerate food truck culture are giving these restaurants a run for their money. If you can stand to eat your tacos on a park bench, it might be worth hitting a food trailer—the ultimate in microentrepreneurship. They are often at the forefront of experimentation and variety.

How long will the State be able to keep up with the dizzying pace of innovation, as this civil disobedience hydra sprouts two heads in the place of any one severed? Unless the State gets really repressive really fast (and we’re all prepared to let them), its functionaries will not be able to control the swarms and the gales of creative destruction those swarms bring with them. Fifty ways will become 50,000. This is our present. This is our future.

HT: Mike LaFaive

36 thoughts on “50 ways that people are working around State obstacles and ‘leaving Leviathan.’ And 50 ways may soon become 50,000

  1. Hmmm, some really excellent ideas here…

    I have to wonder though if maybe Borders and Tucker could be a bit excessive in their optimism…

    States don’t like it when someone cuts into their revenue streams – it shows a lack of control of the offending citizen…

    Note the following from Bloomberg News…

    Moguls Rent South Dakota Addresses to Dodge Taxes Forever

    My impression is that writer of this story is a libbie and doens’t think its right for people to hang onto their wealth…

  2. State management of society is not only contrary to human liberty; it is also unworkable

    Absolutely. WTF should I drive on the right hand side of the road if I don’t want to? LOL.

    But, of course, much state regulation is stupid, counterproductive, designed to serve vested interests, or obsolete. What’s needed is more democratic control over legislation. Swiss-style town-hall debates and referendums as a basis for legislation would be a step in the right direction. In a national referendum Americans would, presumably put ObamaCare out of it’s misery without further delay.

    • The issue is that it appears that no one is worked up enough about a lot of it to sponsor an initiative to repeal a lot of the regulations. In a number of states it is possible to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot thru signatures. However this costs some money and few are worked up enough to spend the money to get the initiative on the ballot. For an example an initiative to put a state constitutional ban on limits to the number of taxis. (You might get by with a regular referendum but not sure).
      It would be interesting if such a referendum were held to see how the vote would go.

      • that’s a fascinating idea Lyle.

        some states do indeed have citizen-initiated referenda and yet there are no real “uprisings” against regulations..

        in other states, that do not have the right of citizen-initiated referenda.. of course, nothing happens.

        In fact though.. if someone asked to list out the last 3 or 5 times that citizens did initiate referenda to get rid of regulation.. what would the latest examples be?

        • To boot some cities have initiative and referendum spelled out in the city charter. Seattle is one as is Houston, one has to choose one’s city to see if the city has that. As cities are the one’s regulating the taxi companies and their competitors, why not a referendum on taxi licensing in the city, to provide that there be no limit on the number of taxi permits issued. One must assume that Uber et.al. have lawyers that know about this, but must suspect that they would loose the vote. Or else why not try it in a large city, and see what happens. If it does not succeed then the citizenry in general does not think this kind of regulation is a big enough problem to fix.

          • re: lose the vote

            this really goes to the heart of why we have regulation – or not.

            but more folks now question regulation than before.

            however, I agree.. there are cities, towns that regulate taxi, food trucks, etc that also have citizen referenda and as far as I know few if any have initiated referenda to roll back regulations and you’d think that with the advent of Tea Party groups that between them and the libertarian types- they’d at least try to get it on the ballot – in a place where they might pick a really bad regulation in a place that tends to be anti-regulation – such that it would pass and put out a warning to other places about citizens rolling back regulations.

            ain’t happened so far…

      • Lyle

        It’s interesting to consider that a successful initiative, placed on the ballot by referendum, bypasses the legislature, and may overturn statutes enacted by elected representatives, indicating that elected officials aren’t really representing the will of the people who elected them.

        • Which of course is why Hiram Johnson (governor of Ca) pushed for referendum and initiative in the early 20th century, when the Ca state legislature was owned by the Southern Pacific lock stock and barrel. So there is nothing new there.

    • Absolutely. WTF should I drive on the right hand side of the road if I don’t want to? LOL.

      You have picked one of the more useful rules based on custom, and redundantly encoded by statute by the state in it’s zeal to exert control.

      There is no reason you should drive on ones side of the road or the other unless you appreciate that serious injury or death can result from ignoring customary behavior.

      • it’s also a bad example.

        the state owns the road, and so they can set the rules just as, because you own your house, you can require me to take off my shoes to come in or if i own a restaurant, i can require you to adhere to a dress code to patronize it.

        notions that the owner of property can set terms for its use are not in any way incompatible with liberty. such notions actually comprise its bedrock.

        it is when the state tells you what you can and cannot do with and on your own property (so long as it does not violate the rights of others) that the problems begin.

        • it’s also a bad example.

          the state owns the road, and so they can set the rules just as, because you own your house, you can require me to take off my shoes to come in or if i own a restaurant, i can require you to adhere to a dress code to patronize it.

          don’t you think that when you leave your house and are using stuff that does not belong to you that others set the rules?

          your “rights” once you leave property you own are subject to reconciliation with others rights.

          In a totalitarian country your rights are decided by a small number of people. In an elected governance country.. everyone has a right to vote and in countries with truly small and weak government your “rights” are subject to whoever else wishes to take them… and has the ability to do so… i.e. no real rule of law.

          “rule of law” is by it’s very existence – a one-size-fits-all limitation of rights that may unfairly penalize some.

          notions that the owner of property can set terms for its use are not in any way incompatible with liberty. such notions actually comprise its bedrock.

          it is when the state tells you what you can and cannot do with and on your own property (so long as it does not violate the rights of others) that the problems begin.

        • morganovich

          it’s also a bad example.

          Indeed, but CanSpeccy, a dedicated protectionist and xenophobe, has an apparently unlimited supply of bad examples on his own website.

          He doesn’t tolerate dissent, though. If he doesn’t like your comments he just deletes them.

    • yup…noticed that also.

      some thoughts -

      “innovation” and “disruptive technologies” are not a modern phenomena…but each succeeding generation thinks it’s theirs that has changed the world!

      the internet – which is what drives many things on this list is not _free_ although people act like it is. It costs billions of dollars to build and maintain.. and people pay out the nose for cable/cellular access.

      some of the stuff was built by government and now is just taken for granted like ‘free’ roads are.

      for instance – uber and many other similar services rely not only on the internet but GPS satellites. Any “location-based” service is using govt satellites.

      every dashboard GPS unit or phone that has a GPS receiver is using a govt-provided service.

      food trucks and public roads and publicly-provided sidewalks, parks and park benches – paid for by businesses that pay taxes… vs businesses that want to use that infrastructure and not help pay for it.

      tax evasion – an ongoing, never-ending game between government and people who are taxed – nothing new here.

      3D guns and showerheads – you can sure enough build a 3-d gun that is not detectable by current means but technology is going to catch up and you’ll still go to prison anyhow if you get caught.. who is going to be that dumb to prove they can carry a plastic gun to prove a point?

      showerheads – you can get showerheads right now for $10… why go through that much expense and trouble rather than “re-work” the 10 dollar model?

      the idea that the government is “unfairly” requiring water restrictions devices – to just force “conservation” is misguided.

      water and sewer are costly and much water is wasted and people pay for it. If we decide we want to use more water – it’s going to cost people more and the prices for water will go up for everyone OR they’ll start charging more for higher than average use – as they should – and as power companies are starting to do.

      I see the water restriction argument as similar to people complaining that they can’t find old fashioned appliances that use more electricity than the modern ones or the light bulb controversy where folks “rebel” by insisting they want to use bulbs that use more energy then complain when the power company increases rates – but they blame all of this on govt and not …supply and demand… which is what water and electricity consumption is really about.

  3. Most of these things have become possible with the invention of the Internet.

    The Internet is, by far, the largest experiment we’ve had in anarchy and spontaneous order in the history of the world. Interestingly enough, it is also the most peaceful society to ever exist: no wars, no racism, no violence. It’s amazing. Absolutely amazing.

        • Idiotic.

          What, don’t you think they are “our jobs”? You must be one of those free market capitalist creeps who think jobs are created by the employer. :)

          The solution is obvious. Demand higher pay for working at “our jobs” so businesses won’t have any incentive to save money by replacing us with robots. After all, the demand slope for labor slopes up, right?

          • re: ” The premise that “they took our jobs” is ludicrous on its face.”

            really? Do you mean when folks like Sowell and Perry say that increasing minimum wage will result in machines replacing workers?

            I do not agree with the article but presented it as part of the narrative about “disruptive” technologies that can displace current jobs… and how many people do see technology as taking away jobs – not in too different a way that they see outsourcing as taking away their jobs.

            but just like people spending money in different ways than before – new jobs replace the old ones – but the new ones usually require more knowledge and skill than the older ones.

            for instance, uber – replaces taxi’s but also dispatchers with software “dispatch” .. “apps” that have to be written and maintained by someone who has more skill than a taxi driver or dispatcher.

            this is going on across the country – as people with older skills are losing their jobs to disruptive technologies – that also provide jobs – but jobs they cannot do.

            so in a real sense, jobs are “lost” to machines.. to the people who use to have those jobs… and they cannot easily get the new jobs.

          • but you oughta take the time to correct your own!

            you guys kill me. everything is about ideology… nothing acknowledges real world… it’s all what you believe it should be and everything else including the way is really is – is “ignorant”!

          • No Idiot Domain, it is you who need to pay much, much better attention to what we are saying, because you are ignorant.

            The more you leftists attempt to control the economy, the worse it will get. You are the cause of 14% unemployment, not machines.

          • more ideological blather Mesa? geeze guy… you sound just like a cuckoo clock guy… except it says wackobird wackobird!

          • Mesa

            As you know Ron, innovation continually destroys jobs, but it also creates them, unless of course you stifle innovation and growth thru regulation (which we are).

            Yes, of course. My comment was entirely tongue-in-cheek.

            Obozo is a purely political actor with no ethics or morals, and actual economics plays no part in his agenda.

            I’m continually amazed that human ingenuity and determination can overcome the ever more numerous obstacles created by government interference.

          • this is just more of larry seeing only the proximal and not the distal.

            productivity increases produce a net societal gain.

            if robots increase productivity (and if not, why buy them?) then overall production rises, prices tend to drop, and even if some manufacturing jobs are destroyed, the money saved buying those products creates new jobs and enhances overall welfare.

            this is not the same as a min wage hike which increases costs without increasing productivity.

            best of luck getting him to grasp that.

          • actually I posted that article for two reasons:

            1. – to show that many believe that

            2. – to demonstrate that a jobless recovery may be related to replacing people with machines…

            there is honest debate about this…among a wide variety of people including economists… it’s _not_ a “Larry” thing.

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