John Gorentz (johngorentz) wrote in libertarianism,
John Gorentz

Wine across state lines

The Wall Street Journal editorializes in favor of allowing wine to be sold across state lines. At the moment, state regulations can permit it. Last year, for example, we visited a winery on South Bass Island in Lake Erie and took some wine home with us. The wines were not superb, but they were good enough that I would have ordered more by mail if I could have. But I'm not a resident of Ohio, so I can't. They can't ship them to us, even though the winery does mail-order business within the state of Ohio.

The Supreme Court is considering the constitutionality of this ban, and the Wall Street Journal hopes they'll strike it down.

Opinion Journal article

I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I am instinctively in favor of free trade. On the other, though, I don't like what will happen when this ban goes away.

Some wineries will do more business, but a lot of small ones will also go out of business because they can't compete. When you take down the admittedly artificial trade barriers, we'll have more of a winner-take-all situation.

I don't know whether the Peterson and Sons winery would be one to grow or go away. The owner is at retirement age and one of his sons is taking over, he told me last time I was there. The guy started the winery when he lost his job in industry. He was too old to find other work, so he did this. I think it's an extremely good thing when people who are sufficiently motivated and talented can do that. When there are self-employment outlets, it puts upward pressure on wages and working conditions for those who do work for big companies. And it means people don't have to desperately cling to their wage-slave jobs when employers want them to do things that are morally shoddy.

Not only are we better with an economic environment that's friendly to small businesses, but the country is more interesting that way, too. The country is boring when you can buy the same stuff everywhere you go. It's interesting when you have to learn new things in new places.

On the other hand, if we applied this same way of thinking to the world economy and put up trade barriers between countries, we'd have a repeat of the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Well, I can see a possible major flaw in what I just wrote, but I'm going to post it anyway (to my journal and to libertarianism) and see what folks have to say.

BTW, this is a new experience for me, being on this side of a trade issue.
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