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View Diary: Morning Feature: Whose Liberty, Part II - Libertarian Myths and Privilege (191 comments)

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  •  Market Theory versus Market Practice (25+ / 0-)

    The Free Market is a myth. The Myth says that the mysterious Market Forces will pressure a company to not only do the profitable thing, but that good ideas (that make products better, or cheaper, or safer) will prevail over bad ideas.

    The problem is, the Market isn't free. Because the first thing any corporation (or entire industry) does when they start making profits from an idea is to do whatever it takes to put limits on the market's ability to affect those profits. Regulation of product safety becomes "a cumbersome burden" that will cost jobs, or put mythical mom-and-pop businesses out of work. Being held legally liable for harmful products or manufacturing profits leads to "frivolous lawsuits" and a need for "tort reform."  The rights of workers to a living wage, health benefits or a reliable pension, or even a job that will still be there two years from now becomes "crippling labor costs"... That's why, in a nutshell, there is a revolving door between industry and Capitol Hill, and the federal government agencies -- to ensure legislators "friendly to our interests" are the ones who keep the market forces from battering down the practices and profits of industry.

    Seriously, it's like playing a board game with a toddler. They're always ready to change the rules in the middle of a game, just to make sure they win. As far as they're concerned, that's what rules are FOR.  

    And that good idea that someone came up with to steamline a process, or create a new product that might be safer, more cost-effective, or less harmful to the environment? Or worse, cut into some big corporation's dominance in a given market?  Big corporations are quick to buy the rights to it. They're even willing to pay serious money. And then that great idea gets patented (so no one else can develop anything close to it) and gets filed away somewhere safe, where it will never be seen again.

    I think this example came from Al Gore (I recall it was in a movie... so could have been Michael Moore, too).... the reaction of the oil and gas industry to innovations like a totally electric car was "WAIT a moment -- slow down! We've got oil and gas we haven't SOLD YET!  Kill it, quick!"  

    The free market MIGHT work, if the playing field was really level, and the market really free. But it's not, and it isn't. So it doesn't. And those who are making huge profits with the market just the way it is want to KEEP it that way, because as far as they're concerned, that's what "Free Market" really means.

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