Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Markets Want To Be Free

For a sizable group of people in their 20's and 30's, deciding on their own what drugs to take - in particular, stimulants, antidepressants and other psychiatric medications - is becoming the norm. Confident of their abilities and often skeptical of psychiatrists' expertise, they choose to rely on their own research and each other's experience in treating problems like depression, fatigue, anxiety or a lack of concentration. A medical degree, in their view, is useful, but not essential, and certainly not sufficient.

They trade unused prescription drugs, get medications without prescriptions from the Internet and, in some cases, lie to doctors to obtain medications that in their judgment they need.

It seems that as technology advances and “globalization” (including the scary quotes) becomes more pervasive in everything, free markets will continue to find innovative ways to buck government regulation and provide customers with what they want.

Another, very telling, example of this is downloadable music. First there was Napster, which the government shut down. Then Grokster met a similar end. The industry started suing teenagers for downloading music off of services like Kazaa. And in the end, of course, we get iTunes and the innumerable look-alikes.

I takes very oppressive regulation to put a complete stop to market forces, oppressive regulation that will do much more harm than good.

Hat Tip: Ann Althouse

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