Birds do it, bees do it


As Ella sang a number of times.....

Electric eels I might add do it
Though it shocks em I know
Why ask if shad do it - Waiter bring me
"shad roe"

In shallow shoals English soles do it
Goldfish in the privacy of bowls do it
Let's do it, let's do some trade

Yes, apologies, that last line shows why I'm writing blog posts not lyrics. Ahem.

The great argument deployed to justify government regulation of voluntary exchange is that we're all feeble minded idiots who'll get ripped off by nasty people. We have to be limited in what we can do for our own good. That definition of "our own good" and what limits there will be being decided by people on nice salaries in lovely offices on final salary pension schemes paid for by us of course. For our own good.

However, the failure of this argument is that such regulation is not the only method possible of punishing the bad guys. Most of life is a repeat game, we're interacting with very much the same people multiple times. And it's not just humans who know how to do that either:

Beneath your feet, plants and fungi are exchanging nutrients in a marketplace where generosity is rewarded and cheating punished. The two kingdoms were known to exchange nutrients at root level – now, researchers have shown that they have evolved ways to enforce fair trading.

All without a bureaucrat or regulation in sight, mindless plants and fungi are capable of playing repeat games, regarding good and desired supply, punishing cheaters and enforcing fair trade.

So my suggestion is that we get our own mindless plants and fungi out of their offices, strip them of their nice salaries and pensions and burn their regulations on how we may conduct voluntary exchange. For I'm pretty certain that we can manage to outperform Medicago truncatula even if the newly unemployed bureaucrats will find it difficult to beat mycorrhizal fungi.