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Germany loosens up about regulating store hours

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So let's just pretend to be statist constructivists for a moment and see how this works.

  • If we leave it to individual stores to set opening and closing times, it is perfectly obvious that stores that open earlier and stay open later will have an advantage over those that do not. This fact alone will inspire a rat race of commercial frenzy that will push profit over quality of life.
  • A civilized home business will stand no chance against a heavily capitalized corporation that can more easily absorb the high costs of early openings and late closings. There are electrical bills to pay and labor costs involved that a small business — which might have better products and services — will not be able to afford.
  • So, what is the undercapitalized company going to do? It will have to choose between adopting the hypercapitalistic focus of its competitors or closing its doors. In a footrace, all competitors have the same starting line. One would never permit one runner to start at a different place from the others. Why should we permit this in enterprise?
  • Competition is fine, but the rules have to be the same for everyone.
  • And think of the workers. They have families. They need downtime. They need a breather to have dinner with others, read books, and cultivate a civilized lifestyle. No one should be forced to choose between working ridiculously early (or late) and having no job. And yet this will surely be the result if we just let any business open or close whenever it wants to.
  • As for the consumers, surely people can figure out a way to get their shopping done between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. That leaves a solid eight hours for sleep, which everyone needs.
  • If we let people shop at any hour, consumers will naturally choose times when the streets aren't crowded and the store lines are shorter, which means that businesses will have to stay open ridiculously long, even 24 hours a day! But with mandatory limits on commercial hours, consumers will figure out that they need to get real lives and stop commercializing the whole of them.
  • And think about this: what kind of society do we want to be? Do we want the entire nation engulfed in the buying and selling of things, or do we believe that there are other human values that must be part of the balance? If we permit the anarchy of the market to rule, we make profit and loss the measure of all human success and failure. This is not something anyone wants.
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