It’s almost impossible for businesses to maintain monopolies or cartels without the helping hand of government. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:
What’s unfettered in America is “Communism for the Rich” and the normalization of corruption that results from the auctioning of political power to protect monopolies and cartels.
The irony of constantly being accused of being a communist is rather rich. When I point out that “free market capitalism” in America is neither a real market nor real capitalism, those who equate any criticism of “capitalism” as proof of communist leanings are triggered.
Noting that Marx got monopoly capitalism and alienation right triggers another group who equate any favorable mention of Marx as proof of communist leanings.
There are two ironies in these accusations of being a communist. One is that I’ve spent 17 years tirelessly critiquing centralized wealth and power–the acme of communism–as the source of our moral, social and economic decay.
The other irony is that Communism is absolutely thriving in America in broad daylight: the monopolies, quasi-monopolies and cartels that dominate the American economy and governance are Communism for the Rich.
It’s virtually impossible to maintain a monopoly in a free market where you compete by offering the best value. That’s why generations of unscrupulous entrepreneurs have turned to the government for “help.” From Peter Schiff at schiffgold.com:
Earlier this week, a federal court threw out an antitrust case against Facebook. The lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission, along with 48 state governors, sought to force Facebook to divest itself of WhatsApp and Instagram, but the court said the FTC failed to prove that Facebook holds monopoly power. In his podcast, Peter Schiff said whatever problems Facebook may present, the only monopolies we should really be afraid of are the government-protected monopolies.
Peter said Facebook isn’t a monopoly and doesn’t need to be broken up.
Antitrust laws were ostensibly passed to protect consumers. If a company achieves monopoly power, it can jack up prices and take advantage of the public. The consumer is served best in a competitive market because competition tends to keep prices low. Therefore, the government needs the power to break up these monopolies and preserve a competitive environment. Peter said the argument that Facebook is gouging consumers falls a little flat given they give their base product away.
If a company is giving its products away for free, by definition, it’s not gouging anybody. So, even if Facebook had a monopoly, which it doesn’t, but even if it did, who cares? It’s giving away the products. They’re free. So, nobody is being harmed by this so-called monopoly.”
You could argue that the public isn’t really the customer. In a sense, people with Facebook accounts are the product. Advertisers pay Facebook to reach those account-holders. But Facebook clearly doesn’t have a monopoly on advertising. Peter said the advertising market may be more competitive than at any time in history.
The natural progression is from a little tyranny, like censorship, to full-on tyranny. Give in to the former your asking for the latter. From Brandon Smith at alt-market.com:
As I have noted in the past, in order to be a conservative one has to stick to certain principles. For example, you have to stand against big government and state intrusions into individual lives, you have to support our constitutional framework and defend civil liberties, and you also have to uphold the rights of private property. Websites are indeed private property, as much as a person’s home is private property. There is no such thing as free speech rights in another person’s home, and there is no such thing as free speech rights on a website.
That said, there are some exceptions. When a corporation or a collective of corporations holds a monopoly over a certain form of communication, then legal questions come into play when they try to censor the viewpoints of an entire group of people. Corporations exist due to government sponsored charters; they are creations of government and enjoy certain legal protections through government, such as limited liability and corporate personhood. Corporations are a product of socialism, not free market capitalism; and when they become monopolies, they are subject to regulation and possible demarcation.
Many corporations have also received extensive government bailouts (taxpayer money) and corporate welfare. Google and Facebook, for example rake in billions in state and federal subsidies over the course of a few years. Google doesn’t even pay for the massive bandwidth it uses. So, it is not outlandish to suggest that if a company receives the full protection of government from the legal realm to the financial realm then they fall under the category of a public service. If they are allowed to continue to monopolize communication while also being coddled by the government as “too big to fail”, then they become a public menace instead.
Almost all effective monopolies are created, blessed, and sustained by governments. From Mike Holly at mises.org:
Politicians tend to favor authoritarianism over capitalism and monopoly over competition. They have directly created monopolies (and oligopolies) in all major industrial sectors by imposing policies favoring preferred corporations and preferred special interests.
In 2017, University economists Jan De Loecker and Jan Eeckhout found monopolies behind nearly every economic problem. They have slowed economic growth and caused recessions, financial crises and depressions. These monopolies restrict the supply of goods and services so they can inflate prices and profits while also reducing quality. In addition, monopolies have decreased wages for non-monopolists by decreasing the competition for workers. This has led to wealth disparity, underemployment, unemployment and poverty
Monopolies have also led to many societal problems. Unlike truly competitive firms, institutions that enjoy monopoly power have more freedom to discriminate against outsiders, especially women and minorities. They block innovation, the key to long-term prosperity. Monopolies have led to imperialism and wars .
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