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Whither Monopoly?

Consider the fact that most large corporations from 50 years ago are either extinct or are no longer among the country’s largest (I’d show data, but my Eco 108 students are going to be doing an assignment on this shortly).

Consider the rhetoric about “markets” being prone to monopoly and exploitation and entrenchment of political interests.

Now look at a list of the 500 largest and most influential universities in the US from 50 years ago versus today.

There are many points to make regarding this fact, but all I would like is that when someone decides to not even look at the data for the claims they make, at least apply those same arguments consistently across all institutions, not just the ones you’ve been taught to despise by some fashionable member of the clerisy.

3 Responses to “Whither Monopoly?”

  1. Drew says:

    Wouldn’t the more relevant data be the number of entrenched corporate interests that a person interacts with at a given moment? Never mind how long they’ve been around. In any case, it doesn’t seem to take very long for a new big company (or union or interest group or whatever) to form all kinds of cozy arrangements with the state. Money expedites the process and a young company doesn’t necessarily mean a poor company.

    • wintercow20 says:

      This indeed is a good point. However, the evidence is pretty clearly there that for any particular entrenched interest, the force of competition is a pretty intense pressure over the long run. I think the exceptions, like GE, for example, may prove the “rule”

  2. Harry says:

    Everybody alive today has been taught about the evils of monopoly, assuming you got to an eighth grade history class that also taught that the Great Depression was caused by speculators,and that Framklin D, Rooseveldt saved everybody, and that another Roosevelt saved the moose for the chosen few to shoot them.

    Wintercow asks us all to tell of how we have been damaged by monopolies. I cannot think of a single free monopoly, but the first monopoly that comes to mind is the public school system, which even after counting the cost of my daughter, has been a negative million, counting my share of the property taxes, not counting my parents’ contribution for forty or so years before I got the bill. Otherwise, I never complained about the oil companies selling me gas for under a dollar a gallon, even when Hillary was Queen, or when Jimmy Carter was wearing a cardigan sweater.

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