Restraint of Trade

Private actors are often accused of collusion to restrain trade and decrease competition, and certainly there are a number of examples of this in history.  However, all such private arrangements are usually doomed, in part because the incentive for certain parties to cheat are high in such arrangements.  And the parties to such agreements have no control over new or outside competitors entering the fray.

The only stable restraints of trade and competition are therefore enforced by the government, who can use police and prisons to enforce such rules.  That is why successful businesses who are tired of fighting off upstart competitors run to the government for help.

But the government does not like competition with its own services (e.g. Federal bans on intracity mail delivery competition). Here is a good example:

"Drivers attending the Indiana State Fair or a major sporting event downtown may sometimes opt to grab a parking spot in someone's yard rather than pay higher prices in a parking lot, but some city officials think people who provide parking spots should get a permit first. City leaders are proposing that residents pay a $75 fee (per event) if they want to turn their yards into parking lots."

Does anyone think there is a burning safety issue here?  The goal is to kill competition with publicly operated parking garages.  My guess is that someone figured out the average revenue of a private home offering front lawn parking, added $5, and made that the registration fee.


  1. Mark:

    This concept is exactly why racism can only exist when the government condones it. If you are a private business, the profit motivation would incent you to hire the underpaid, overqualified "victim". That would give you more production at a cheaper cost and that would drive your competitors out of business.

    But, what happens? To stop this from happening "white" labor ran to the government and gets labor legislation, like the Bacon-Davis Act, passed to protect their turf.

  2. DMac:

    This specific example does have a racial component. The neighborhood surrounding the State Fair grounds is predominantly black, and of a modest income level. The primary off-site parking is at the Deaf School, across the street, with space for hundreds of cars, so a $75 fee is a small percentage of what they take in. On the other hand, a homeowner with space for a handfull of cars is paying a high percentage of the income potential of the yard.

  3. steve:

    I am not sure the politicians are soo sophisticated as to think they must kill the competition of public parking. I think its simpler. They see people making money and they think "Hey where's my cut?"

  4. Mark:

    "This specific example does have a racial component"

    Well, you are missing the point then, which is that only government has the power to compel you to do anything. My point is that such negative issues as racism can only exist if it is protected by the government. A corporation cannot compel you to buy their products and to sell them to you they must be competitive in the market. A racist corporation is not going to be competitive because they are paying more for labor than they would without racism.

  5. marco73:

    Back in the 1970's and 1980's, part of the fun of attending the Florida/Georgia college football game (World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party tm) in Jacksonville was negotiating parking. The Gator Bowl had woefully inadequate parking, so fans drove around a poorer neighborhood to find parking. Homeowners would wear a Gator hat and a Dawgs jersey, and were happy to take anyone's money.
    No way could any of the homeowners charge more than their neighbors for parking. IIRC you could get a pretty good spot for $10 if you got there early. The price would rise as good spots were used up right up to game time, then drop after the game started.
    Now that EverBank Field has been upgraded to handle the NFL Jaguars, the stadium has plenty of parking, for $30 per car. There was a similar licensing battle with homeowners over parking and, predictably, the homeowners lost.

  6. IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society:

    >> There was a similar licensing battle with homeowners over parking and, predictably, the homeowners lost.

    The usual mechanism for producing compliance is via the zoning boards, among other things. Clearly, your residence is not "zoned" for providing parking facilities.

    While one could argue this without being absurd (i.e., if I'm not a fan, the loud, raucous, and noisy fans coming and going from the game might be annoying to me) it's one of those things that USED to fall into the "live with it" category. Nowadays, of course, the government is there to kowtow to your every whim that you should never, ever have a bad moment in life... and instead of the wider happiness you get the rather diametrically opposed lowest common denominator.

    As far as "zoning" goes, it's one of those things for my lights that says that the government ought to have the power, but it should be narrowly controlled -- that is, there should be perhaps a dozen different zoning types, and everything must fall into one of those types. No "subcategories", divisions, or other distinctions allowed -- something like: Commercial, single residential, multi-residential, manufacturing/warehousing, shopping, professional business.

    Don't allow the government to micromanage your life.

    "Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite, it's none of her business what you are doing."

  7. TOTUS:

    I live in Indy and the city, state, and local governments are as voracious for a cut of every dollar of business transacted here as anywhere. The government spends literally billions of taxpayer dollars on "public works" projects like Lucas stadium, Conseco fieldhouse, new airport terminal, etc. etc. etc. that amounts to welfare for the rich.

    Government should be in the business of providing the fewest services necessary for safety and infrastructure and public order and leave the remainder to the market,

  8. TomG:

    I'm with steve, above: This is nothing more than politicians making a money grab as soon as they see an opportunity. Any chance to seize money for the state will be taken.
    (For another example, see: unredeemed cash cards that private businesses often sell. Many states are grabbing the money from those after a certain period of time elapses, despite having no honest claim to it.)

  9. Craig:

    I suspect this is more about the fact that having cars parked in yards "looks bad." Since governments are already well down the road of regulating aesthetics, it is natural for them to put a stop to this.

  10. IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society:

    > despite having no honest claim to it.

    ...Can you actually name any instance where a government has any honest claim to any money under any circumstance whatsoever in the very first place?

    -- Just sayin'... :D

  11. IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society:

    >> is natural for them to put a stop to this.

    Primarily because they get to make a few bucks on the side while doing it.

    Otherwise, the general level of interest would be substantially reduced. Probably rapidly approaching zero as an asymptotic limit.