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Pilot Error

Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal:

Air Line Pilots Association International president Lee Moak, attempting to excuse his organization’s efforts to stymie competition, resorts to the tried-and-untrue legerdemain rehearsed by all rent-seekers (Letters, March 20).  First he proclaims his enthusiasm for competition.  Then he immediately reveals his proclamation to be false by asserting that government must thwart his rivals because they allegedly have “an unfair competitive advantage.”

Capt. Moak forgets that competition is not about fairness or unfairness for suppliers.  Markets and competition are about serving consumers.  Period.  Suppliers are valuable only because, if, and as long as they serve consumers in ways that consumers themselves – rather than politicians or the suppliers – judge best.  The “unfair competitive advantage” here is not, therefore, one enjoyed by the foreign supplier that Capt. Moak seeks to prevent from serving American consumers; it is, instead, the privilege of being protected from competition that he himself seeks for his union members at the expense of those consumers.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030​​​​​