A friend of mine used to be a senator in Nigeria. She told me that her tribe, the Yoruba, once captured members of other tribes for the slave trade. The stone prison and chains that held them until ships arrived, are still extant, in a museum beside the port.
American plantation owners wanted cheap labor. Yoruba supplied their demand. But even though cotton-growers still wanted to buy and Yoruba still wanted to sell, slave trading stopped in the late 1800s.
Why? Because government stepped in and outlawed it.
Libertarians believe the less government the better. They believe that supply and demand should be allowed to rule. They want to “live free” of regulation. But with no government, who will balance the forces of powerful multinationals with the rights of the people?
When government weakens, industry no longer provides a good day’s pay for a good day’s work. Corporations control, not just wages, but costs. For instance, do you wonder why medicine is so expensive? Could it have to do with the fact that the CEO of CVS made 434 times as much as the salary of his average employee? Why is housing so expensive? Could it be because 1 in 12 households has two or three or six homes? Why are local shops closing? Could it be because one Amazonian company that pays no taxes deploys a telecommunications system designed with government research funds and patents supported by U.S. taxpayers and data collected from consumers to monopolize commerce? These are issues that can be addressed with laws and policy, with government.
Government, done right, protects us, the people, from exploitation. Is government always done right? Of course not. But in a democracy, we, the people, get to change government, by volunteering, or running for office, or voting for people with integrity. And do not tell me that all people are corrupt. If you believe that, you really should find some new friends.
43 Pine St.
(This writer, a Democrat, represents District 11 on the N.H. Senate.)