“Free Market Solutions”

Thoughts on a Free Market Economy…

“Free Market Solutions”

By Phyllis Hunsinger

April 1, 2020

            The corona virus, COVID-19, has dominated the world’s interest since late January, 2020.  As this is written, a number of rather draconian actions have been taken by states and the federal government to try to stem the spread of this unseen enemy of the peoples of the world. When this virus is no longer a deadly threat and reflections of this period of time are made, the free market will surface as being the true victor.

            The examples of free market solutions are already making the news:  private enterprise geared up to make inhalers, ventilators, and hospital gear including millions of face masks.  Private enterprise soon provided pick-up and deliveries of all kinds of essential items, including already prepared food.  Using technology developed by private enterprise, many businesses and schools have been able to reconfigure their work to deliver services to their clients.  More doctors have used technology to telecommunicate with their patients, thus responding to the need to social distance yet serve their patients. 

            The beauty of a free market is that individuals can quickly react to changing facts on the ground, whereas, large government bureaucracies are cumbersome and require a much longer turn-around time on any endeavor.  Government regulations can slow down any process; however, the bigger the entity, the more red-tape and layers of approval are required. As a result of this, large bureaucracies are slower to respond to need.

            Historically, free markets and private enterprise have provided solutions to problems.  Jonas Salk, while at the University of Pittsburgh, began his research on polio; on April 12, 1955, the vaccine was released for use in the United States.  His discovery was life-changing for mankind.  Edward Jenner is credited with discovering the smallpox vaccine in 1796 and the founder of vaccinology in the West.  Louis Pasteur was responsible for many medical discoveries, including cholera vaccine in 1897.  Alexander Glenny in 1923 perfected a process that led to the development of a vaccine against diphtheria in 1926.  Maurice Ralph Hilleman was an American microbiologist who specialized in vaccinology and developed over 40 vaccines in his lifetime.

            The point of this historical review is to demonstrate the power of the individual and groups of individuals to solve problems.  Individuals left to their own interests and abilities can recognize problems and come up with solutions.  The heavy hand of government often gets in the way of the problem solving because of its very structure.  The most productive thing that government can do is to remove stumbling blocks that may hinder individuals from accomplishing their goal.

            A cure or a vaccine or both will emerge from the difficult times this unseen enemy has caused.  And when that happens, odds are the solutions will be provided by individuals and groups of individuals operating in a free market.

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