Craig Newmark of Craigslist for President?

plm-bottom-upA friend and fellow traveler hillbilly points us to this interview with Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, one who deserves the Capitalist Superhero tag.

Per that dirty-fingered nerf-herder’s post:

The latest issue of Wired has a great piece on the success of craigslist, and it’s supposed deficiencies, despite being the leading job search site, and the leading real estate site, among others. The author can’t seem to fathom such a free wheeling attitude, as Craig Newmark takes a largely hands off approach to regulating his invention. The belief that “people are generally good” seems to rub supposed enlightened souls the wrong way.

I can’t add much Vines&Cattle didn’t, but I love this part from Newmark. It’s something most control freaks and authoritarians of both stripes just can’t get their head around, but it’s the basis of why libertarianism isn’t some pipe dream, why free markets are self-organizing, and why centralization and regulation destroys innovation:

“People are good and trustworthy and generally just concerned with getting through the day,” Newmark says. If most people are good and their needs are simple, all you have to do to serve them well is build a minimal infrastructure allowing them to get together and work things out for themselves. Any additional features are almost certainly superfluous and could even be damaging.


  1. thanks! saying a lot in a few words, my current label is “libertarian pragmatist”, best I could do so far:

  2. Anonymous says:

    “People are good and trustworthy and generally just concerned with getting through the day,” Newmark says.

    With the possible exception of Bernie Madoff and anyone who ever worked for AIG, Goldman, Countrywide, etc.

  3. Paladin says:

    I think the vast majority of people are good, trustworthy, etc. There are exceptions, of course – and they tend to stand out in stark relief. I also think that the people who are “good” will generally deal with those who aren’t just fine on their own – if they are given the chance.

    I’ve heard that people sometimes see a reflection of themselves when they form their opinions about others. I wonder sometimes if that has anything to do with some people’s low opinion of the every day folks that make up the majority of our country.

  4. Steve says:

    Believing that people are basically good and leaving them to their devices has created the two most widely used Web sites on the internet: Craigslist and Wikipedia. Granted, both have flaws, but both are extremely user-friendly and incredibly functional. Google anything of note and generally the first or second listing will its Wikipedia page. It’s amazing what can happen when people aren’t regulated into submission.

  5. Anonymous says:

    “It’s amazing what can happen when people aren’t regulated into submission.”

    No shit – $1.6 trillion deficits, Wall Street CEOs lining their pockets with billions in bailout tax dollars, health care providers skimming 20% off the top, yep, it;s all pretty amazing.

  6. Steve says:


    You’re a fucking moron.

  7. Anonymous says:


    go regulate yourself

  8. Rawlins au Gratin says:

    Side Bar Reality Czech:

    It’s been my experience that (many) people who believe the wealthiest (as in megamillions) will self-regulate have never been on the inside looking out of an industry or business/corporation yadayada that intimately serves said demographic. I have.

    There are greedy and self-serving monsters pretty much anywhere. And I do believe that the majority of people are indeed good as is stated above. But I spent a long time involved in the clientele world of (for example) $70,000 women’s handbags. And I can guarantee that the big buck patrons who bought them (after being on a 3-5 year waiting list to get one) seldom made their money playing by ‘our’ rules. Rather, they had a set of separate but unequal by any yardstick rules. To this point, If I heard one illicit insider trade conversation, I heard several dozens. All of which involved millions/billions. In a land where people considered being ‘free’ to mean their Swiss bank accounts should be sacrosant.

    Trust me, I know this turf. You can have 8 million ‘good’ people playing by decent rules with character as their guide post. While maybe three others clean house. I knew about Lehman Brothers going down and being un-rescued over two weeks before that happened. When I reported the converstaions I had heard, while staying in a weekend house that cost more than the island of Guam, people just sniffed. Until it played out as I had overheard that Labor Day in Southhampton. I don’t care where anyone sits politically, but I know this turf like a jockey knows a race track. And over the last year, so do a lot of others. Sadly.

  9. towski says:

    “despite being the leading job search site, and the leading real estate site, among others. ”

    Among others indeed.