I agree, it's hard to speculate what life would have been with laissez-faire without having experienced it completely, but let's do it for the entertainment value. =)
L.A.'s transportation problem is actually a bad example, because the monopoly there isn't a natural monopoly. How about Microsoft then? If no antitrust laws apply, and all economic laws are laxed, what do you think would happen? What if Microsoft decides to drive out all of its competitor? Do you think it can be stopped? This would be a great starting point for the discussion on Wednesday.
About the exporting of jobs, I agree our wage laws are partly to blame for this. If our wages weren't so high, and there are no worker's union in an ideal world, then our workers can stay more competitive relative to the outside world. However, even if there is no minimum wage laws, do you think workers would take a substantial 50% or more pay cut considering our high standard of living and our high cost of education? Probably not. This is what economists called the wrench effect--it only goes in one direction. No one said anything so far about our nation losing its overall competitive advantage if our hi-tech industry is moving somewhere else. Don't get me wrong though. I think it's rational and even preferable to have free trade, and having goods produced wherever that is most efficient for the benefit of buyers and consumers, but can we bear with the end result of a deterioriating US economy, one in which more money goes out to buying imports than profiting from selling our exporting goods? What else does the US have to offer to the world to stay strong and competitive? That is the real mind-boggling issue I am concerned with. Is there a way to fix our tired, old, lazy-ass American work force? Maybe I'm too pessimistic, but I predict a continuing rise in unemployment and rising inflation, in other words--a recession. Can someone please cheer me up? I'm feeling politically and economically depressed.
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