The Freedom to Contract has been Replaced with the “Freedom” to Beg For Permission from a Bureaucrat
Tom Bowden aptly describes the so-called AT&T/T-Mobile merger plan as “a very complicated, very expensive petition for Uncle Sam’s permission to do a deal”:
[…] AT&T and T-Mobile don’t have freedom of contract. They don’t have the right to make the final decision on whether to merge. It’s not just big companies that lack freedom of contract. Think about it: how many contracts in your own business or profession require prior permission from a bureaucrat? How many deals require the parties to be licensed? How many projects require a special permit, or certificate of need? How many exports must satisfy a quota? How many deals have to be crafted so as not to draw government attention? And perhaps most important of all: How many deals don’t make it past the back-of-a-napkin stage because permission would be too hard to get?
What is really crazy about all this is how business people simply accept the amount of time wasted (not to mention the money wasted) on dealing with bureaucracy. The reason is that they have no conception of how life in a free society would operate based on property rights and the freedom to contract. Under capitalism, the decision to merge two businesses into one, much like the decision of two people to get married, would be essentially a private one. Government’s sole role would be one of a referee as opposed to that of a dictator. The fact that the two companies are merging violates the actual rights of no one.