Businesses need market freedom

Posted: Monday, January 26, 2004

American companies need an exit strategy in a free market? After reading Ms. Walter's letter I'm left scratching my head. Would anyone presume that in a free market economy a business would have the need to insure themselves against the community, town or state they reside in, in the event that their idea fails?

Should the company pay punitive damages to the municipality? Would it be the city? County? Borough? State? Maybe the whole country? Imagine what message this would send to the average person who makes the commitment to enter the world of entrepreneurship to own their own business or to be their own boss. All three companies that we've mentioned were started from nothing. Every one of them was built from the ground up. Can it get more American?

I think back about 12 or 13 years ago, when Mapco first arrived and they single-handedly broke the gasoline price-fixing "cartel" in Juneau. Our free market once again proved that if consumers are left with a choice market value will prevail every time.

Does Ms. Walter propose that we go after all the companies that have left Juneau? Maybe it's only the ones that leave in the future. What is really needed is for Juneauites to stand back and realize that Juneau's economy is flat. There is no realistic nor responsible plan for resource development in the borough. It seems most want to limit the number of tourists who visit here, even though they represent over 48 percent of total gross tax revenue in Juneau. Mining is almost nonexistent, timber is dead, fishing is only hanging by a thread and most businesses are doing anything they can to stay above water.

To legislate away the spirit of competition is make Alaska no better than, say, Cuba. I can only hope that anyone who reads this is instantly motivated to go out and be their own boss - it's what this country is founded on. You may fail once or twice or three times or four, but you're exercising your right to operate your own venture without fear of reprisal. Nor having to buy "exit-strategy insurance."

Jonathan Collard


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