July 24, 2018 by

Regulating Behavior Leads to Undesired Results

An article published in February in the Independent in Great Britain speaks about various addictions, how they impact young people, and what society can and should do about them.  The article was written by Janet Street-Porter.  It is interesting and important on several levels.  First, it addresses real problems face by real people.  These are problems that society has to deal with.


The second important aspect of the article is that it deals with gambling addiction along with obesity and other eating disorders, mental illness, obsessive use of social media, and the dangers young people face when they use social media to meet people.  All of these are real problems that society needs to face head on.

The third important element in this article is the author’s prescriptions for solving these problems.  Here is a quote from the article on how to deal with the epidemic of childhood obesity: “Child obesity needs a joint approach involving education and health—compulsory school meals, investing in catering facilities, compulsory cooking, compulsory physical exercise.  A joined-up policy that might be Draconian but would yield results.”

There is a huge difference between making online gamers use the proper bonus codes in order to access cash bonuses and encouraging the government to make life for everyone far more controlled and compulsory.  This is a trend we are seeing throughout the Western world as a combination of the rise in popularity of socialism, combined by the utter hatred so many people feel for United States President Donald Trump leads many people to urge compulsion through government in a wide range of activities.

Many people now see it as proper for men who consider themselves women but who are still anatomically men in the most important area of their bodies to use women’s restrooms.  It is now seen as proper to compel people to serve others even if the former are morally opposed to the activities of the latter.  This is seen in the movement to force bakers to bake cakes for same-sex weddings and to force Christian, Jewish, Muslim and other doctors to perform abortions.  Men who think they are women are now allowed to compete as women in sports competitions.  It is not surprising that these transgender women win most events they enter.

There is talk that the government should force people to vote.  The thinking is that if people were forced to vote, socialism would become the law of the land within a few years at most. 

The health care law that was passed in the United States in 2010 that has come to be known as Obamacare, forces people to buy health insurance.  It also forces people to include in their health insurance services or products that they don’t need and don’t want.

There is talk that the government should force people to buy a hybrid car.  As it is, government subsidies for some farm products can be interpreted as a kind of backdoor edict to buy one product instead of another.

Undesired Results

The Chinese government’s edict forcing women who already had one child to have abortions led many women to abort girls even if the girls would have been the women’s first born child.

Forcing smokers to smoke outdoors had the positive effect of making workplaces smoke free but also cost companies a lot of productive time as smokers went outside to smoke, often travelling down elevators from high floors to get to the street level.

Returning to Gambling Addiction

The increasingly noticeable trend to make the government make our decisions for us is disturbing enough.  There is a fine line between Japan telling its citizens that they can go into a casino no more than ten times per month and the government telling us that we can make only a specified and approved number of bets per session.  The government could tell us that based on our income and verifiable expenses that we cannot make certain bets, play certain games, and so on.

Economists have long known that if the government forbids people to buy certain products that the public wants to buy, they will create a black market in those products.  The classic example in the United States was the law that made it illegal to own, produce, or consume alcoholic beverages except for sacramental purposes.  The law was called Prohibition and it lasted about fifteen years before the US government and the states decided to end it.  Unfortunately, it led to such a widespread black market in alcoholic beverages that it spawned the vast organized crime families in every big and middle-sized American city.

The most disturbing aspect of placing gambling addiction alongside food addiction and obesity is that all gambling businesses are openly supportive of efforts to make gambling safe and fun.  Casinos want high rollers, to be sure.  But casinos demonstrably do not want average people compulsively gambling their family’s food or rent money.

Casinos are possibly even more aware of the dangers of gambling addiction than any government bureaucrat.  Casinos have many programs in place to prevent gamers from losing money their families need to pay for everyday products and activities.

Freedom

Ms. Street-Porter is entitled to her opinions, of course.  The problem is that we are witnessing a very serious trend: people are more than willing to accept increasing government control over their lives.