Wealth, Jobs, the Fishing Industry, and Obama

Mike Johnson
American Thinker
7/2/2010

The New England fishing industry is in serious trouble. Fishermen are leaving, giving up on their jobs. Fishing boats have become a glut on the market. The only aspect of the industry that is flourishing is the government bureaucracy. The free-market system no longer applies in the age of Obama.

When free enterprise did apply, entry into fishing as your own boss required a boat — a significant investment, considering the technology to make the boat safe, legal, and competitive. In economic terms, the boat owner made an investment of capital or, if you will, of wealth. The new captain would then hire a crew. The invested wealth had created employment opportunities — jobs. Then it was off to sea, with the attendant dangers, discomforts, and heavy labor involved in catching the fish. The catch, the tangible result of the sweat of their labor, represented new wealth that could drive economic growth.

But — a big “but” — there is a constraint on the free market in fishing. Fish are a renewable resource, and if the fleet takes (as it did) fish at a rate greater than the resource’s capacity to renew itself, the resource will collapse. And thus we got government regulation. Don’t get me wrong — some degree of regulation is essential. But just as over-fishing can collapse the resource, over-regulation can smother the industry.

The initial regulations were strict — some say too strict — but were aimed at replenishing the stocks while recognizing the needs of the fishing fleet. The regulations worked. The fleet shrank, jobs were lost, and the fish stocks recovered. The allocated limits on catches did not recover to the same extent as the fish stocks, but the industry, while diminished, remained viable.

Enter Obama…

The article continues at American Thinker.

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