Apple’s new iPhone 15 demonstrates one of the principle features of European society — the fact that European political regimes wield the power to regulate, control, and direct economic activity.
The new iPhone now carries a USB-C charging port, rather than the proprietary lightning charging port that Apple has long been using.
While Apple’s decision to change the charging port was technically “voluntary,” it came about because of a vote by the European Union to require all sellers of cell phones to carry the USB-C charging port.
Thus, while Apple could have simply refrained from selling its iPhone within the EU countries, it instead chose to comply with the EU regulatory mandate in order to continue selling its product within the member nations of the European Union.
Needless to say, the statists within the EU bureaucracy are ecstatic, given that they were successful in bending a gigantic American company to their political will.
The statists say that the change will be technologically beneficial. But whether that’s true or not is irrelevant insofar as the principles of private property and economic liberty are concerned, principles that have never mattered to European statists.
Apple and every other private cell phone company have the right to use whatever charging port they want to use. It’s their product. It doesn’t belong to the European Union or to European “society.” It belongs to the company that owns and sells it. As such, private companies have the right to manufacture and sell their products in whatever form they want.
In a genuinely unhampered market economy, the consumers decide whether to purchase a company’s products or not. If a company is selling a product that consumers don’t like, they will go elsewhere. This concept is called “consumer sovereignty.”
Unfortunately for the European populace, political regulation, control, direction, and management of private economic activity have always been a distinguishing feature of European society.
It’s that centuries-old European statist concept that Adam Smith challenged in 1776 in his book An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. In his famous treatise, Smith argued that there was no need for governments to control, regulate, direct, and manage economic activity. In fact, he argued, that concept was the principal reason why Europeans and others had been consigned to live under extremely low standards of living throughout the ages. Prohibit government from imposing economic regulations, Smith argued, and watch people’s standard of living soar.
The American people adopted Smith’s philosophy (except, of course, for the horrific case of slavery). By 1890, Americans lived in a society in which economic activity was almost entirely free of federal control, regulation, direction, and management. The result was precisely what Smith had predicted: unbelievably large increases in people’s standard of living, year after year, decade after decade.
In fact, one of the ironies of that period was that thousands of penniless immigrants were fleeing the dismal economic conditions in Europe — a land of governmental control over economic activity — to come to a land where economic enterprise was free of governmental control but where people’s standard of living was skyrocketing.
Imagine: America was a society in which there was no Social Security, Medicare, income taxation, IRS, drug war, economic regulations, immigration controls, public (i.e., government) schooling, minimum-wage laws, enormous standing army, central bank, paper money, and other statism that has long characterized European regimes.
Unfortunately, however, later generations of Americans decided to turn their backs on our country’s founding heritage of economic liberty and private property. They decided to embrace the old, decrepit, centuries-old European concept of government control, regulation, direction, and management of economic activity. Not surprisingly, the result has been disastrous in terms of economic prosperity, just as it has been disastrous for centuries in Europe.
Of course, what European statists do is their business. But among the best things Americans could ever do today is lead the world in the rejection of European statism by restoring our nation’s founding principles of private property, free markets, economic liberty, and limited government.