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Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.





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Corruption

One of the big problems with monopoly is the corruption involved. John's post about campaign contributions by corporations - I'm not sure that banning them is really effective though - reminds us that one of the problems is that the monopolization of government power through bribery helps sustains those monopolies. It's also true that monopolies have strong economic incentive for "marketing" including bribing those who are responsible for the welfare of others. Case in point - the pharmaceutical companies bribery of doctors to get them to prescribe their patented products. Why don't book publishers bribe professors to assign their books to their students? It seems they do.

Comments

You have raised the issue of "corruption". The current state of "corruption" in our social fabric does not really seem, to me, to be a case of monopoly power. It is a case of capitalism morphing into a nameless economic system (Corporatism?) were the producers feel entitled to do whatever they want to make $$$. The fact that it damages others, or even ruins our entire financial system is irrelevant. Ayn Rand's objectivism run amok.

I have more on this here: Legalizing Theft - The New Capitalism III

Steve Forbes has a good editorial: Capitalism: A True Love Story. While I don't agree with him in many cases, he makes the central points that Capitalism is based, in part, on trust and an exchange of goods/services for mutual benefit. Both trust and the an exchange of goods/services for mutual benefit seem to be so passe now. Gordon Gekko would be so proud.

What's in a name? Market power or pricing power is what monopoly offers. It comes from a government grant or a private seizure. The question is, what do we do about it? The US has been through similar experiences before when business got dominant political power.

The first thing is make people aware when it is happening. Television news is one example. Aside from Public Broadcasting, by my lights, it isn't news; it is entertainment. That is a consequence of the ratings game and big business ownership of the air waves, and more importantly, now, of cable distribution.

I will post another example, later today: the imposition of "facilities fees" on top of medical charges, once again raising the cost of health care.


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