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Monopoly/Anti-trust Condition:  If the government wishes to involve itself in anti-trust activities, to protect the “common man” from exploitive and greedy monopolists, I would like them to puruse this idea to its logical conclusion, and to do it aggressively and consistenly. While this is going on, I might be taking a vacation in a place far away. So here is a sampling of what I mean:

(by the way, I understand that “real” anti-trust law is more nuanced than I am making it out to be, but that does not alter the logical problems with it)

  1. If the existence of a single company with 100% or some large portion of market share is a problem, I want to see the government imprison and fine my 3 year old daughter when she sets up a lemonade stand on my street this summer. She’ll have 100% market share and she can charge any price she wishes. She might even charge different customers different prices – what an evil discriminator she will be!
  2. If the existence of a single company with 100% or some large portion of market share is a problem, I want the government to ban all business, particularly focusing on preventing the creation of any new business. After all, when you are the first person to think of something neat, you are a monopolist by the standard definition. When Edison marketed the light bulb, he could have charged people anything, right? (you’d be wrong by the way). Or when a company thought it could launch a satellite and sell us access to commercial free radio, they had all of us over the barrel, right? So, since any new company by definition must possess unfair and destructive market power, I would like to see the end of business. No business = no market power. When I am growing my own meat and cheese and grain, no greedy company can exploit me.
  3. The government should apologize to the mob and other criminal enterprises and encourage, rather than discourage, their expansion. It is not clear to me that we are made better off by the government being the only looter in town. When we have competitive looting, the price of the “services” they provide would seem to fall. This is actually fodder for a good empirical study – for example, compare public garbage collection with that provided by the mob. I am not sure which is better.
  4. If market power is fundamentally evil, I would like at least the admission that institutions wielding more power than that are also fundamentally evil. When 535 people have the ability to alter the education system, health care system, the climate, take away all of my income, prevent me from working for particular employers, and so on … would you not say that they have a wee bit more power than even the most greedy, evil, monopolist? I am not even saying to eliminate the government in order for me to be happy – for starters, I’d love to see an honest accounting of their real power. Seriously, 535 people in Congress treat trillions of dollars as monopoly money. The largest investment managers are custodians to less than a 1/3 of this amount – and the richest and most powerful companies are worth in market value terms only a fraction of this.

There are many other conditions, these are just a few samples. Have a lovely weekend.

3 Responses to “Conditions Under Which I Would Permit More Confiscation of My Income”

  1. harry says:

    Back in Economics 101, it seemed to me that nearly all of what we were taught was about the gap between “perfect” competition and both monopolistic competition and oligopolistic competition. The professor would draw the graph showing a big gap showing how we were all cheated by the monopolists.

    In retrospect, Samuelson and the economics department were speaking to a future generation of regulators and antitrust lawyers, who were going to learn how to quantify that gap, I assume in Econ 433.

    Meantime, on the parkway south of town, we had a gas war going on, with regular fetching $19 per gallon. (OK, that was dollars back then, but even assuming the government has debased the currency by a factor of 10, that would still be $1.90 for regular.)

    I remember raising my hand and asking if ologopolists had such power, how come you could buy a gallon of gas for six cents less than eight chocolate donuts at the thrift store, which was the only other item I could think of.

    I do not remember the answer to the question, but I am sure it was not answered for me. Back then, I knew hardly anything, and was not about to challenge the premises of the college’s economics department, let alone my professor.

    Perhaps it would be time for departments of economics to devote less time on the evils of trusts and Standard Oil, and more on the economics of rent-seeking from the state, and the relative benefits between freedom and state control of our lives.

  2. harry says:

    Correction: I meant $.19 per gallon. Does missing a few decimal points to the left qualify me for a Czar job?

  3. […] other day I wrote a post discussing some problems with the government and popular stance on monopoly and anti-trust. Reflecting on it in the car this morning, it occurs to me how absolutely inconsistent these views […]

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