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Deregulation Examples

Libertarians are often challenged to defend deregulation. Here are some positive examples of deregulation in action.

Religion
Because of the constitutional separation of church and state the religious institutions in the United States are almost completely deregulated. The result of this is diversity, prosperity and abundance of religion. Any religion imaginable is available to the consumer. Buddhists, Unitarians, Scientologists and hundreds of sects of Christians all go to the churches of their choice. The only limitations are lack of interest or the violation of some non-religious law. Not only are the consumers getting what they want but the institutions are thriving. The amount of money received and resources owned by churches is astounding. Although they have profound and unavoidable disagreements the different churches compete to attract customers instead of going to war as they do in many other countries. The institutions are prosperous and the customers are happy, all thanks to the absence of government interference.

Software
A more modern example of the benefits of deregulation is computer software. This industry has escaped regulation by evolving quickly and changing rapidly. Anyone can write computer programs and sell them without a license and without government certification of the programs. The only limitations are selling deliberately destructive programs, selling programs that interfere with national security, and paying income taxes on the profits. The result has again been incredible diversity, prosperity, and abundance. A list of programs available today would fill a large book and it's growing all the time. The price to the consumer is constantly and rapidly falling. Programs costing thousands of dollars a few years ago cost tens of dollars today; programs that used to cost hundreds of dollars are now free. Yet the institutions are prospering. Billions of dollars are spent on programs and they are one of the United State's most profitable exports. All this success is due to the lack of regulation by the government. Imagine how different it would be if computer programmers had to have credentials before they were allowed to program and if programs had to be inspected and approved by government bureaucrats.

Lima, Peru
Anyone who has doubts about anarchy should read a best selling South American book called "The Other Path" by Hernando De Soto. It is the report of a commission set up to study the underground economy in and around Lima, Peru. Poor people coming to Lima find the regulatory barriers completely insurmountable so they take the law into their own hands. What do these anarchists do? Mostly they do construction, manufacturing, transportation, and marketing. Most of the homes around Lima (and most other third world cities) were built in defiance of the law. Most of the bus systems evolved from gypsy cabs. Most retail stores evolved from illegal street vendors. Most factories evolved from underground home shops. The level of violence in these communities is extremely low and so is the presence of government. The people have to be well organized in order to get things done without a government and they spend a lot of time at different organizational meetings. This is hardly the popular image of anarchy yet millions -- probably billions -- of people live it every day.