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Jun 15, 2017
Presented by
Jared Meyer

Do you use an iPhone? Watch Netflix? Listen to Spotify? Then you love capitalism and can't stand big government. How do we know? Jared Meyer of the Foundation for Government Accountability explains.

From the iPhone to Netflix to Uber, capitalism is the driver of innovation. Government overregulation gets in the way of that innovation.

  • Free markets and innovation—not big government—have created the rise of wildly successful technology companies like Apple, Netflix, Facebook, Snapchat, Uber, and Etsy.View Source
  • WATCH: Jared Meyer on “The Economics of the Sharing Economy.”View Source
  • Related reading: How Progressive Cities Fight Innovation – Jared MeyerView Source
  • Related reading: Mass Flourishing: How Grassroots Innovation Created Jobs, Challenge, and Change – Edmund S. PhelpsView Source

Millennials are an entrepreneurial generation. A recent study found that 66% of millennials want to start their own business. 

  • Research from Bentley University shows that 66 percent of millennials want to start their own business.View Source
  • Research by Deloitte indicates that 70 percent of millennials want to eventually work for themselves and that 71 percent think that business can help solve social problems.View Source
  • WATCH: Jared Meyer on “The Economics of the Sharing Economy.”View Source
  • Related reading: Uber-Positive: Why Americans Love the Sharing Economy – Jared MeyerView Source

Despite the perception that big government is increasingly popular, a majority of millennials prefer smaller government and fewer taxes.

  • According to recent survey results, 57 percent of millennials prefer a smaller government providing fewer services and collecting fewer taxes.View Source
  • WATCH: Jared Meyer on “The Economics of the Sharing Economy.”View Source
  • Related reading: Disinherited: How Washington Is Betraying America's Young – Jared Meyer, Diana Furchtgott-RothView Source
  • Related reading: Mass Flourishing: How Grassroots Innovation Created Jobs, Challenge, and Change – Edmund S. PhelpsView Source

Are millennials anti-capitalism? A recent study found that 64% of millennials prefer free markets over heavy government regulation.

  • A recent study found that 64 percent of millennials prefer a free market economy rather than a government-managed economy, and that 63 percent distrust government regulators, believing they favor special interest groups over the public interest.View Source
  • WATCH: Jared Meyer on “The Economics of the Sharing Economy.”View Source
  • Related reading: Uber-Positive: Why Americans Love the Sharing Economy – Jared MeyerView Source
  • Related reading: Disinherited: How Washington Is Betraying America's Young – Jared Meyer, Diana Furchtgott-RothView Source

Are millennials pro-big government? A strong majority of millennials prefer cutting government spending and taxes.

  • A recent study found that 64 percent of millennials think cutting government spending would help the economy and 59 percent think cutting taxes would be positive economically.View Source
  • WATCH: Jared Meyer on “The Economics of the Sharing Economy.”View Source
  • Related reading: Disinherited: How Washington Is Betraying America's Young – Jared Meyer, Diana Furchtgott-RothView Source
  • Related reading: How Progressive Cities Fight Innovation – Jared MeyerView Source

The least-regulated section of the economy—technology companies—are the most successful. 

  • Technology companies are the least-regulated group in the U.S. economy and they are experiencing the most growth. Just consider the success of Apple, Facebook, Etsy, Netflix, Snapchat, and Uber. While companies like Apple have been able to continually lower costs and innovate largely without government interference, other sectors in which the government is heavily involved, such as health care and education, have seen continuously increasing costs.View Source
  • WATCH: Jared Meyer on “The Economics of the Sharing Economy.”View Source
  • Related reading: Uber-Positive: Why Americans Love the Sharing Economy – Jared MeyerView Source
  • Related reading: Mass Flourishing: How Grassroots Innovation Created Jobs, Challenge, and Change – Edmund S. PhelpsView Source

Young Americans’ entrepreneurial spirit is being hindered by regulation.

  • Restrictions from the Securities and Exchange Commission have limited the ease of access to venture capitalist money, such that venture capitalist funds back less than 1 percent of start-ups. Fifty-two percent of all entrepreneurs who fund their enterprises through debt take out bank loans, even though equity financing is more lucrative and gives the entrepreneur access to more experienced input in their business. Occupational licensing, which in 2008 affected one-in-three workers in the economy, is an additional obstacle to business start-ups and innovation.View Source
  • WATCH: Jared Meyer on “The Economics of the Sharing Economy.”View Source
  • Related reading: Disinherited: How Washington Is Betraying America's Young – Jared Meyer, Diana Furchtgott-RothView Source

Almost everything you enjoy using is a product of capitalism; almost everything you can't stand is a product of big government.

  • Free markets and innovation—not big government—have created the rise of wildly successful technology companies like Apple, Netflix, Facebook, Snapchat, Uber, and Etsy.View Source
  • WATCH: Jared Meyer on “The Economics of the Sharing Economy.”View Source
  • Related reading: Uber-Positive: Why Americans Love the Sharing Economy – Jared MeyerView Source
  • Related reading: Disinherited: How Washington Is Betraying America's Young – Jared Meyer, Diana Furchtgott-RothView Source

Rulemaking may be the only area where the government shows creativity—and that rulemaking often hinders economic growth. 

  • Related reading: How Progressive Cities Fight Innovation – Jared MeyerView Source
  • Related reading: Mass Flourishing: How Grassroots Innovation Created Jobs, Challenge, and Change – Edmund S. PhelpsView Source
  • Related reading: Disinherited: How Washington Is Betraying America's Young – Jared Meyer, Diana Furchtgott-RothView Source

You love capitalism. Really - you do.

And you can't stand big government. Really - you can't.

Don't believe me? Then I'll just have to prove it to you.

Do you use an iPhone? Android? Macbook? PC?
Read on a Kindle?
Watch TV and movies on Netflix? Videos on YouTube?
Shop on Amazon?
Listen to Spotify?
Search on Google?
Send money on Venmo?
Grab a ride with Uber?
Drive with Waze?
Book a room with Airbnb?

Are you on Facebook? Or Instagram? Or Snapchat?

You probably use many, if not all, of these things, and, if you're like me, you love them. In today's world, they're practically necessities.

Where do you think they came from?

From entrepreneurs with great ideas and the freedom to test them in the marketplace. That is what is known as . . . capitalism.

Now consider some other things you probably use:

Have you been to the DMV?
Gone through airport security?
Mailed a package at the Post Office?
Called the IRS customer service line?
Or called any government office, for that matter?

What's different?

Why is going to the Apple Store so fun, but going to the DMV so painful? Because one has nothing to do with the government, and one is the government. One needs to satisfy its customers to survive and grow. One doesn't.

The purpose of government is not to create products. And we don't expect it to. But if you thought about it for a few moments, you'd realize you don't want the government involved in just about anything private business can do.  That's because profit-motivated individuals have to work to please their customers. You. Government agencies don't have to please anyone.

Call that IRS service line, if you doubt me.

Can you imagine if Steve Jobs had to seek government approval for every new design of the iPhone? We'd have been lucky to get to iPhone 3G.

Look at Uber. Just a few years ago, summoning a private driver in a few minutes who would take you where you wanted to go was truly a service available only to the wealthiest people. But now, thanks to capitalism, private rides are an affordable option for ordinary people all over the world.  Until Uber came around, if it started to rain in, say, Manhattan and you wanted a grab a cab, good luck. Too many rain-drenched people and too few cabs. Uber had a better idea. Rain falls. Demand for rides spikes. Raise prices to incentivize more Uber drivers to hit the road. Ride-in-the-rain problem solved.

Airbnb is another example. Only a few years ago, if you were going on vacation with your friends or family, hotels were just about your only option. But hotels are expensive, and often don't provide all that much in terms of space, amenities, or interesting neighborhoods.
If you wanted to, say, find out if individual homeowners were making their homes or apartments available for a few nights, you'd have to scour internet postings.

But then Airbnb came along, giving anyone with a computer or smartphone access to over 2 million homes in 190 countries. You can find places with hot tubs and pools; or, if you're on a tighter budget, you can rent a room, or even just a couch.

Government never could have done this. What motivation would it have? How would it even know we wanted services like Uber or Airbnb?  We didn't know it, until risk-taking entrepreneurs made it possible. Thanks to capitalism. And no thanks to government which, more often than not, just gets in the way.

Why?

Because the government's knee-jerk reaction is to regulate and control everything it can regulate and control. Otherwise, what would be the purpose of many government agencies and all those bureaucrats?

Cities across the world are putting up barriers to slow down or shut down services like Uber and Airbnb. Rulemaking may be the only area where the government shows creativity. Economic growth has the best chance of happening in the absence of that rulemaking.

As economist Adam Thierer explains, the internet, to use just one important example, was able to develop in a regulatory climate that embraced what he calls "permissionless innovation." This approach to regulating allows entrepreneurs to meet their customers' needs without first seeking government approval.

In sum, almost everything you enjoy using is a product of capitalism; almost everything you can't stand is a product of big government.
So, do you love capitalism? Of course you do. You practice it every day. It's time to preach it.

I'm Jared Meyer of the Manhattan Institute for Prager University.       

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