- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Not quite ...

Posted by: Dr. Cruel on September 20, 1999 at 02:20:31:

In Reply to: you answered it posted by Gee on September 17, 1999 at 20:20:38:

Sorry, Gee, but there is actually a rationale for anti-monopoly legislation. The principle behind it, shown so vividly by the robber-barons of the 19th century, was that a monopolized industry could easily set prices higher than in a protected market, and do so artificially. This is because, money itself being a form of power, coersion can be exercized by sufficient levels of capital investment - much in the same way that military assets can be used to coerce an artificial, undemocratic outcome in economic and political decision-making. If I own all the train lines, I can artificially raise the cost of moving freight by rail, over and above what might be expected in a competitive market. If the capital investment in such an enterprise is sufficiently high, or the assets to develop are sufficiently rare, this sort of thing can be kept up indefinitely, barring government intervention. Thus, one can keep the cost of freight shipment expensive by owning the means of transporting freight, or the means of engaging in long-distance communication, or keep competing computer operating systems off the market through all sort of subterfuge, or crush MPEG3 as a transmitting medium for independant artists via existing and future contractual agreements, and so on.

This is not to say that communists and socialists ought to be allowed to legislate this issue; they frequently wish to establish the most far-reaching monopoly of all - an all encompassing control over any sort of money-making enterprise whatsoever, to be managed solely by a nepotistic elite of their choosing. Thus, the need for capitalists to manage their own affairs in this regard, lest outside opportunists and charlatans do it for them, using the 'will of the people' as an excuse for a wholesale looting of the economy.


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