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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/2350/the-city-protects-us-from-illicit-lemonade/

The City Protects Us from Illicit Lemonade

August 13, 2004 by

So that’s what’s going on. My wife and I were wondering what was happening with the news trucks, the radio broadcasts, and the lemonade stand a couple of blocks from our apartment.

Apparently, a couple of young lemonade stand entrepreneurs found themselves in hot water with the vaunted City of Saint Louis for not having the necessary licenses, permits, etc. There are three important lessons we can take from this.

1. Fight the Power. Where are Rage Against the Machine and Public Enemy when you need them?

2. If we aren’t going to stop little kids from selling lemonade without permits, licenses, etc., a moment’s reflection should tell us that we’re inflicting harm on people by not allowing them to enter the market for any good or service without permits, inspections, etc.

3. Quoting Walter Block, from the Rothbard Graduate Seminar 2002, “property rights, property rights, property rights!” If the girls were on the offended party’s lawn, then he has an obvious and legitimate gripe. However, the Post-Dispatch article says that they were on the grass between his property and the road—if it’s a public right of way and is therefore unhomesteaded, the kids now enjoy commercial rights over their newly-homesteaded plot of land (I’ve passed it a couple of times—the stand doesn’t appear to be on anyone’s property). The land apparently doesn’t belong to the offended party. The lemonade doesn’t. The girls most certainly don’t. Unless they are engaging in uninvited transformation of the offended party’s justly acquired property, there is no principled, legitimate way we can register any complaint against them.

Again, the market delivers the goods. I think I’m going to have some lemonade on my way home.

Check out Radley Balko’s blog for more.

{ 3 comments }

Mike Linksvayer August 13, 2004 at 2:58 pm

Where are RATM and PE when you need them? I don’t know, but you probably should be looking to Corporate Avenger instead. See http://www.geocities.com/ca_taxgirl/lyrics-fiasom-taxesarestealing.html

Aaron Kneile August 15, 2004 at 10:43 am

Another point I took from the SLPD article is that ofen government intervention is prompted by or provides “benefits” to some other party. It’s the cranky neighbor that calls the health dept, just as it’s the industry that’s facing stiff competition that calls for tarrifs. Of course, when it’s a 10 and 12 year-old girl, it’s easy to get the pastor or the mayor involved, but not every industry has this sort of advantage. Art is absolutely right in point #2: bariers of entry do inflict harm.

One final point: .25 for a glass of lemonade is a pretty good price. The real loosers when the government tries to limit entry to the marketplace are the consumers.

Art Carden August 15, 2004 at 5:41 pm

Darn right. 25 cents for lemonade is a pretty good deal-esp. compared to the $3 smoothies and $2 coffees a few streets over. Unfortunately, it looks like the kids have packed up shop…

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