LTE: Food Trucks

Asheville Tribune Executive Editor David Morgan argues (“Downtown Asheville without restaurants?,” 9/1/2011) against the operation of food trucks downtown because they might provide some competition to restaurants and this, in turn, he speculates, would lead to a ghost town.

He first states that it is the government’s role to “make the rules for free market competition reasonably equal and fair.” He is right. To wit: government should not interfere in economic activity and should allow the greatest possible economic freedom between entrepreneurs and consumers, trading value for value to mutual benefit. But then Mr. Morgan puzzles us when he states that in allowing food trucks to operate downtown, local government is, by doing so, “picking one kind of business that they like or favor;” namely, food trucks.

Yet, Mr. Morgan would have government actively shield restauranteurs from food truck competition. As if Mr. Morgan is advocating that government ought to pick one kind of business that they like or favor; namely, restaurants. This is a contradiction. Mr. Morgan establishes a sound principle and then proceeds to violate it.

It would appear that Mr. Morgan is confused about the proper role of government as well as the rights of business people and their customers. One, food truck operators have a right to conduct a business that does not violate the rights of others. Two, consumers have a right to select from an array of food offerings without the interference of government or newspaper editors. Also, it is not the government’s proper role to protect businesses from competition. On the contrary, it is the government’s proper role to allow for maximum competition in a free market.

In using the force of government to protect one business over another – restaurants — it is Mr. Morgan who would use government to violate individual rights and, therefore, turn Asheville into a ghost town by dictating economic activity to free adults.

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About Tim Peck

Unaffiliated Objectivist
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