Pike Place Market

I visited Seattle over the weekend, and spent a lot of time in Pike Place Market. Pike Place is one of the oldest farmer’s markets in the country, and is full of people of all ages, ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, and just about everything else. It’s a celebration of all of the good things about America, from the flying fish to the charity piggy bank.

When I visit a place like Pike Place, or Eastern Market back home in Detroit, I can’t help but wonder why the same young people who benefit from their existence are hellbent on destroying the system that made them possible. In a city like Seattle, where prices are out of control and homelessness is an epidemic, the solution to most of the residents seems to be more government intervention, and even the complete dismantling of capitalism itself.

Do they realize that this would destroy a wonderful place like Pike Place Market? Does it cross their minds that things were working pretty well before government tried to do things like tax a business $300 an employee for being too successful? Certainly, completely unregulated capitalism can produce negative effects, but Pike Place is the ideal for which we all strive, and it’s certainly closer to the norm than, say, places with a single health care provider (thanks, Obama).

It doesn’t take an economist to realize that business brings life to an area, or that it provides opportunities for a huge number of people. Places like Pike Place are the best example of this principle at work; for a larger case, look at the entire city of Detroit. Even five years ago, Detroit was in complete shambles in every sense. With the help of businesses large and small, Detroit has entered the first stages of a genuine comeback.

Again, you don’t need to be Thomas Sowell to see how much good a strong business presence can do for a city. It’s only when government starts to incessantly stick its grubby fingers into the proverbial pie that Seattle- (or Detroit-) level disasters happen. Let’s check in on Seattle and Detroit in five years. I have a feeling their fortunes will be somewhat reversed.

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