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View Diary: Is Obama Serious About Antitrust? (39 comments)

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  •  Microsoft (0+ / 0-)

    I'll give you (they are by far one of the most corrupt companies on the planet these days), but Google seems less likely.  One thing about anti trust is determining whether the monopolist is abusing their monopoly by, for instance, forcing competitors out of business, pushing suppliers or vendors into anti competitive practices, or otherwise warping the market.

    Google hasn't done much, if any, of that.  They got really, really big by supplying the best online general search engine around, and since then much of their effort in that area has simply been to keep it the best.  Everything they've branched out into has had the same basic attitude applied to it.  Compete simply by being great at what they do.

    MS on the other hand has done everything in the book to get rid of competitors over the years, including signing agreements with most of the large computer vendors to supply systems with nothing but MS products on them, designing the operating systems they sold in a way that deliberately broke competing programs, etc.

    Not all large companies are potential anti trust targets, since anti trust is in part about how the company behaves in the marketplace, and not just it's size relative to it's competitors.

    •  This is exactly the Borkian thinking (1+ / 0-)
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      that I think we need to change. We need another circumstance to evaluate the benefits of concentration.

      At the moment, the high concentration of Google across a variety of platforms is probably a net plus for the United States. There isn't any reason to believe the failure of Google would lead to economic ruin, or that the service it performs couldn't be quickly taken up by other market actors.

      But Wal-Mart, however, is clearly a problem. It destroys the economic growth in small towns and contributed significantly to the trade imbalance. Its very size creates barriers to entry for competitors and it has unhealthy employment practices.

      By following the Bork philosophy (or the Chicago School phiolosophy), supply siders have ensconsed the idea that that sole evaluator of competition is the lone consumer of goods. This is misguided in my view. We need a much broader understanding, as was the origional purpose of antitrust in the first place.

      Teddy Roosevelt and Robert Taft didn't go after those guys because they weren't serving the American consumer well. They were just too big for this nations own good. Period.

      •  Ok, (1+ / 0-)
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        on that I agree.  But again, Walmart's size isn't the whole problem.  It's also Walmart's business practices, which, while legal, tend to be bad for the communities they do business in.  Price shouldn't be the only factor in any decision, but it's the only thing Walmart emphasizes.

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