In my Forbes column this week, I publish an essay I wrote for an Americans for Prosperity event commemorating Milton Friedman's birthday. A brief excerpt:
Having once been successful through excellence, leading businesses typically get lazy and senescent, and become vulnerable to more innovative, lower-cost or more nimble new competitors. Sears lost its electronics sales to Circuit City, which in turn succumbed to Best Buy, which is now struggling to compete with Wal-Mart, who is being challenged by Amazon.com.
Unfortunately, businesses that were once successful can feel a sense of entitlement, believing that this new competition is somehow unfair, or that consumers are somehow misguided in taking their business elsewhere. When they have money or political connections, these businesses may run to Congress and beg for special protections against competition, or even new subsidies, mandates, stimulus projects, and bailouts.
Where is the threat to capitalism and individual liberty coming from today? Is it from some aggrieved proletariat, or is the threat from bailed out Wall Street firms, and AIG, and GM, and Chrysler, and ethanol manufacturers, and electric car makers, and windmill builders?