Consumers choking on misnomers of control

ALL controls are people controls. This simple fact is easily concealed by such deceptive terms as "credit regulation", "exchange control", "tobacco laws", "national health insurance", "consumer protection" and "liquor policy".

The Department for Health and Against Freedom does not, for instance, control tobacco products. It has never subdued an unruly cigarette. Reserve Bank officials never chase an illegal dollar down the road. The Financial Services Board has never seen a financial product, let alone regulated its behaviour. The Department of Trade and Industry never issues a licence to entrepreneurial wine. And the National Credit Regulator never intercepts a delinquent loan trying to force itself onto an unwilling debtor.

Control concealment has become such a fine art that most consumers fall for it, tricked into believing they are better off when their sovereignty is eroded. Consider the proposed Financial Sector Regulation Bill. It is nothing of the kind. Sectors are economic theory abstractions, not organisms lurking in dark alleys. The proposal should be called the Consumers of Financial Products Regulation Bill. The sole purpose of the regulatory noose closing around the necks of consumers is to ban an ever-increasing number of products and services they are allowed to buy.

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