First, let me preface my question with a comment. I very much like the ideas of Austrian economics, and I like what Peter Schiff has to say. I include this little preface in case anyone thinks I'm trying to belittle Peter's opinions or find fault, where the fault is likely to be my own misunderstanding or lack of understanding (and general idiocy).
I'm currently reading Crash Proof by Peter Schiff. I'm finding it a very interesting read, but I found myself wondering about one point he brought up. In Chapter 8 he talks about the reasons why the US could sell high quality cheap products abroad while maintaining the highest wage level for any country at the time. He suggested the reasons were low capital costs, low taxation and less regulation. I can understand and agree with that. But my question rests with the last of those three things.
A bit further on he goes on to ask how the US can compete now with nations that dont have all the rules & regulations that the US have. He asks if the US would have become great if the wagon owners, back in the day, had to deal with all the health & safety issues, etc, etc. I can understand this, but a little after I read that (while washing the dishes actually) I began wondering why rules & regulations are such a bad thing. Isnt it better to have safe working environments? The minesites, around the place, used to have pretty bad conditions, but have gotten better with more regulation. So have various industries. Isnt it better to have people working safely, rather than living in some version of the Wild West where everyone shoots each other to get ahead, and even though medical science allows people to live to the age of 500, people are dead usually at 30 because of lack of regulation? I dont know, those things there are just my opinion and maybe I'm missing something utterly fundamental, but I cant see why having the government regulate is a bad thing, as he seems to be suggesting. Anyone help?