It was Marxists who wanted permanent revolution, but it is capitalists who have delivered it. The last 50 years have seen a sustained revolution in the way people’s needs for goods and services are supplied.
Businesses have revolutionized their structures to provide continuous improvement in the consumer’s experience.
Innovation and creative destruction have swept away once mighty market powerhouses in a way that antitrust laws could never dream of—search in vain for a Borders or Blockbuster at your local mall.
Payments systems have made purchasing services as well as goods much easier; you no longer have to pay a cleaner or handyman with cash, for instance, thanks to apps like Handy and Taskrabbit.
And the old verification system of a businessman’s reputation has been bolstered by a variety of feedback mechanisms, like Lyft’s or Tripadviser’s ratings system.
American—and increasingly global—commerce is in a state of continuous revolution.
All of this is now under threat. The Obama administration and its allies have made it its mission to stop this revolution in order to protect a variety of special interests:
- Business structures are under attack through the “joint employer” and worker classification decisions of the NLRB and Department of Labor in order to shore up the creaking 1930s structure of collective bargaining;
- Innovative businesses like Uber or AirBnB are under sustained regulatory attack at all levels of government, backed up by local interests like taxi cartels or hotelier lobbies;
- Payments systems and processors are under significant regulatory pressure. Interchange fee caps, the Fed’s desire for a nationalized faster payments system, and attacks on processor firms by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are all examples of an effort to utilize the unpopularity of financial institutions to squeeze payment providers;
- Even ratings systems can be the victim of worker classification rules or data protection provisions.
It is the mission of CEI’s Center for Economic Freedom to halt this assault. We will be working to raise awareness of and to challenge a variety of rules and rulings that make up this agenda, as well as to promote the institutions of liberty that emerge from this process of continuous business revolution.
2016 will be a challenging year in this regard, but it is a challenge we are ready for.