On the day that representatives from Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, and Cisco Systems appear before a Congressional hearing for complying with the Chinese government’s rules in order to gain a foothold there, I read that Wal-Mart is being ordered by Massachusetts bureaucrats to sell a controversial abortifacient known as the “morning after” pill. In both cases, private property is fine as long as it is used in ways that are state-approved. The solution? Maybe firms should simply stop doing business in places like Massachusetts and China. Or maybe bureaucrats everywhere–including those in Boston, Washington, and Peking–should butt-out of private decisions about how property is utilized.
In the meantime, I will not hold my breath waiting for Congressional hearings on Wal-Mart and other firms’ right to sell what they want.