Skip to main content

Antitrust. Antitrust. Antitrust.

It's a word that one sees and hears constantly and has a vague notion about what it means but...

Antitrust. Take the word literally and to me it means something that can't be trusted. So?

It appears that legally the antonym of antitrust is competition. So why not just say anti-competition? Apart from being a damned mouthful word.

Competition? Isn't everyone for competition? Isn't that the name of the game?

Well? Isn't it a game?

Wiki sez:

Competition law, known in the United States as antitrust law, is law that promotes or maintains market competition by regulating anti-competitive conduct by companies.

The history of competition law reaches back to the Roman Empire. The business practices of market traders, guilds and governments have always been subject to scrutiny, and sometimes severe sanctions. Since the 20th century, competition law has become global. The two largest and most influential systems of competition regulation are United States antitrust law and European Union competition law. National and regional competition authorities across the world have formed international support and enforcement networks.

Whatzit?

I thocht bidness was all about free enterprise and competition and stuff. Isn't that the blahdeblah that bidness is allus feeding us? I thocht that competition was the bidness of bidness.

Wiki goes on to declare:

Competition law, or antitrust law, has three main elements:

    prohibiting agreements or practices that restrict free trading and competition between business. This includes in particular the repression of free trade caused by cartels.
    banning abusive behavior by a firm dominating a market, or anti-competitive practices that tend to lead to such a dominant position. Practices controlled in this way may include predatory pricing, tying, price gouging, refusal to deal, and many others.
    supervising the mergers and acquisitions of large corporations, including some joint ventures. Transactions that are considered to threaten the competitive process can be prohibited altogether, or approved subject to "remedies" such as an obligation to divest part of the merged business or to offer licenses or access to facilities to enable other businesses to continue competing.

Um, the term "free trade" has become a tad ugly in my book. I'm beginning to wonder what the words did mean once as opposed to what they seem to mean now.

"Free trade" seems to really screw the people. Corporations benefit but the people, the workers, the farmers, are totally screwed.

And this kind of slippery pair of words, "free trade"... Is "free trade really competitive?

For example, growing corn. This is really personal to me. I owe a great debt to the Sacred Corn Maidens and I can never cease to honor them.

Scientists believe people living in central Mexico developed corn at least 7000 years ago. It was started from a wild grass called teosinte.
Sacred Corn. Maize. Teosinte.
Corn was the most important cultivated plant in ancient times in America. Early North American expeditions show that the corn‑growing area ex­tended from southern North Dakota and both sides of the lower St. Lawrence Valley southward to northern Argentina and Chile. It extended west­ward to the middle of Kansas and Nebraska, and an important lobe of the Mexican area extended northward to Arizona, New Mexico and southern Colorado. It was also an important crop in the high valleys of the Andes in South America.

The great variability of the corn plant led to the selection of numerous widely adapted varieties which hardly resembled one another. The plant may have ranged from no more than a couple of feet tall to over 20 feet. It was not like the uniform sized plant that most people know today. For the Aztecs, Mayas, Incas and various Pueblo dwellers of the southwestern United States, corn growing took precedence over all other activities.

The people's corn.

Now it is not so. It is now the corporate corn, Archer Daniels Midland and CORPORATE WELFARE!:

The Archer Daniels Midland Corporation (ADM) has been the most prominent recipient of corporate welfare in recent U.S. history. ADM and its chairman Dwayne Andreas have lavishly fertilized both political parties with millions of dollars in handouts and in return have reaped billion-dollar windfalls from taxpayers and consumers. Thanks to federal protection of the domestic sugar industry, ethanol subsidies, subsidized grain exports, and various other programs, ADM has cost the American economy billions of dollars since 1980 and has indirectly cost Americans tens of billions of dollars in higher prices and higher taxes over that same period. At least 43 percent of ADM's annual profits are from products heavily subsidized or protected by the American government. Moreover, every $1 of profits earned by ADM's corn sweetener operation costs consumers $10, and every $1 of profits earned by its ethanol operation costs taxpayers $30
Corporate welfare? Is that competitive?

Then, we get to this free trade thingy and competition and corn:

American corn subsidies, which led to the flooding of Mexican markets with American corn following the signing of NAFTA, is the primary factor responsible for the post-1994 internal displacement of rural farmers in Mexico. The trade agreement effectively eliminated all trade barriers and placed Mexico’s domestically produced corn in direct competition with highly subsidized corn imported from the United States. Consequently, Mexican corn farmers, who comprise the majority of the country’s agricultural sector, experienced drastic declines in the domestic price of their product and thus faced increasing difficulties to attain a sustainable living. ... it is evident that the subsidization of American corn drastically lowers both the price of corn and levels of employment in the agricultural sector, triggering the out-migration of rural corn farmers to Mexico’s cities.
What is more this corporate corn also means GMO corn also means destruction of the teosinte gene variations sacred to the Corn Maidens.

This unfair, uncompetitive attack upon Mexico, the Mother of Corn, it is not to be tolerated.

And, this is only one small aspect of antitrust. Much more to be considered... Stay tuned.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site