Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Why “Permit Patty” Called the Cops on an 8-Year-Old Entrepreneur

Posted by M. C. on July 14, 2018

This deeper problem comes from years of cultural and economic stagnation, decades of drilling a permission-based mindset into the lives of young Americans, and a slow decay of American civil society.

Permit Patty is a symptom of entrepreneurial decay.

Licenses and permits are the government taking away your rights then selling them back, maybe. They let the people in power at the time control the competition.

By Zachary Slayback

On Saturday, June 23rd, Alison Ettel called police on a young girl selling water without a permit in Oakland, CA. The girl’s relative caught a video of Ettel, tweeted it out, and an Internet rage mob had identified her and her business within hours.

Twitter quickly dubbed the then-unidentified woman in the video #PermitPatty…

I’ve written before about how, contrary to popular belief, entrepreneurship among younger generations is declining, despite it never before being technologically easier to get started on a business. Too much debt, too much stifling, industrialized schooling, and too few role models for entrepreneurial activity all create this environment.

It’s easy to stop and say, “too many busybodies like #PermitPatty, too.” But that gets the cycle backwards. Permit Patty is just a symptom of a society in which entrepreneurship (especially street markets and especially youth entrepreneurship) is so rare that somebody can stop and think, “does this person have a permit?”

That some people rush to Permit Patty’s defense is another sign of this entrepreneurial and civil decay.

In a healthy market culture, racial, political, religious, and ethnic differences disappear into the cosmopolitanism of the marketplace, at least for the duration of the exchange. Jane Jacobs (ironically, Permit Patty has an Urban Planning degree) wrote about the evolutionary and cooperative nature of commercial morals in her book Systems of Survival. Essentially, Jacobs says, there are two broad systems of morals and ethics that govern behavior. The first is commercial in nature and results in people putting their differences aside for mutually beneficial exchange. The second is governing in nature and results in policing measures. She called these the commercial and guardian systems.

The commercial system arises wherever you have healthy and functioning marketplaces (including black markets). Even in countries and societies deeply divided along racial, political, religious, or ethnic lines, people put aside their differences when they get to the market.

Problems start when these two systems needlessly bleed into each other. Dirty cops start working with the mob and taking bribes. Businesspeople turn to the heavy hand of the regulatory state to crush their competitors. The force that defines the guardian system replaces the cooperation and healthy competition that defines the commercial system. Without the healthy competition and cooperation that define the commercial system, people defer to the guardian system, involving the police in matters that formerly would have been dealt with through negotiation, remonstration, and debate, with force as a last resort…

Rebuilding commercial society doesn’t start with congressional legislation or edicts from on high. It starts with re-establishing norms that reward starting a business and make it easy to explore. Doing that can mean changing regulations at the local level. Most people, though, can start by supporting young business owners, deferring to informal institutions for dispute resolution, and making it easier to start a business.

Supporting young business owners doesn’t look like signing up for a youth mentorship program or donating to Junior Achievement (those are fine if you enjoy them). It means buying a cup of lemonade from the local stand, hiring your neighbor’s son to shovel snow from your driveway, and putting up with a kid going around door-to-door to sell something. At the very least, it means not calling the cops on a lemonade stand or on an unsupervised child…

Be seeing you

Big Gov

I am from the government and am here to help.




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