A market in which buyers are not free to choose better products is not a free market.
A market in which new entrants cannot compete fairly against established players is not a free market.
A market in which innovators have to get permission and pay established players for "access" (think ISPs) is not a free market.
And yes, a market in which economic and political power is concentrated in large corporations geographically clustered in a handful of giant metropolitan areas... is also not a free market.
Those corporations have both strong incentives and the means to change the rules of competition to their advantage.
People need to stop wishing for the "free" market. The term is abused by orators and manipulators who prey on peoples desire for a market which is free in the spirit of the word, and deliver to them a market which is technically "free" and horrible.
Don't call it the free market. Call it what it is: COMPETITION.
"Free market" implies "I can do what I want", but frankly we don't WANT people to be free to pull anti-competitive shenanigans. Competition is the priority, not "the free market".
I always though free implied free from non-consensual acts. It's not much of a free market if your actions are non-consensual (1).
(1) Defining what makes an action consensual is difficult but doable.
An ordinary American internet user consents to countless pages of legalese in adhesion and other unread contracts (TOSs, privacy policies and so on) everyday day. These days, every website, piece of software, digital service or product comes with pages upon pages of contracts to which the user must consent to even walk in the door. Reading all of them is easily a full time job.
So, no one has coerced anyone into anything, just a bunch of consenting parties in theory.
In practice, getting consumers to throw away their rights and consent to stridently anti-competitive behavior by companies seems kind of easy.
Taken in the sense of an economy of mutual consent, "free market" is too low a bar to hop over. I can see why people don't think that the barebones style of "free market" is very free.
Your points pre-suppose parties consented to a dispute resolution system: one that is based on arbitrary boundaries and quite monopolistic (1).
> I can see why people don't think that the barebones style of "free market" is very free.
So, I agree that it is hard for people to understand what consent is when they were never given a chance to choose which dispute resolution system(s) they can participate in.
(1) Example being I was born in the USA so somehow automatically consented to the rules of the land.
Your parents consented on your behalf when you were born. Parents everywhere are entitled to make legal decisions for their offspring before the children reach the age of majority; this is what yours did for you.
When you reached the age of majority, you suddenly gained the freedom to consent on your own (by remaining) or reject the terms of living in your country of origin (by leaving).
There's no mystery about being ensnared into something you didn't ask for; your parents did so for you, following a tradition and law as universal and old as time.
I see your points. But I kind of feel like we were having a rather nuts and bolts discussion about how to improve security in Linux, and then someone chimes in that we should probably rewrite everything in Haskell.
If achieving a free market requires a complete upheaval of all of our governments and laws, then the idea isn't very useful.
The idea is extremely useful: act consensual to others. There is no better basis of a social system than this. Having conversations like the one were having now is really all we need. To force the ideas on others in anyway, especially through democracy, would be hypocritical.
A social system based on utility, which is basically all social systems we've had throughout history, is violent, aggressive and dangerous. No wonder history repeats itself.
However, it seems to me that, if one party to a negotiation takes actions which are intended to limit the other's understanding of the exchange, the usefulness of consent as a mechanism to prevent bad trades is degraded. This is not quite violence, but it is scummy, and it doesn't seem that it would be "anti-capitalist" to restrict it.
Call it competition; refer to the literal changes it entails; use strong examples like the one above about safer needles. (My go-to was always airless tires till now; I'm sure we could compile a list of technology advancements we're sitting on but haven't adopted because of our LSC society.)
That seems like the opposite of a solution.
For such a system to work one has to believe that that the regulatory apparatus is staffed with monks who are unaffected by the temptations of wealth, power and vanity that other humans are subject to and that 'regulatory capture' isn't a real thing.
Further that the price mechanism as an information channel is worthless, and that corrupting it with noise will have negligable effect on efficiency and technological development will remain at at least the same levels we enjoy now.
Yes, regulations aren't perfect. Yes, regulatory capture is a problem. Neither of those things is a reason to not have regulations.
>>that corrupting it with noise will have negligable effect on efficiency and technological development
What really hurts efficiency and technological development is monopolies. A company that is a monopoly has very little reason to innovate. We see this all over America with Internet Service Providers. They only improve their service levels if they fear competition (like what happened with Google Fiber).
No system of regulations you build won't eventually be corrupted because (exactly as he says) there exists no neutral desireless arbiters in our world to enforce them.
No system of regulations you build WON'T get you back here eventually. 
I don't believe that. Al Capone was notorious for bribing the police and the judges, or intimidating them and their families if bribery failed, to the point where many people thought he was invincible. That turned out to be incorrect:
There exist people in the world with strong moral standards and fearless attitudes. We just need to identify them and put them in the right positions.
Such an approach hinges on the presumption that the people doing the identifying and appointing are also virtuous and non-corruptible. Any attempt at a guarantee of the neutrality of the arbiters and enforcers will quickly descend into a Seussian "who's watching the watch watchers?" scenario.
On a tangent, I don't believe regulation-free markets are even possible; power and money are inherently connected (money itself being a form of power), so you'll always have "money in politics", and if governments were to suddenly disappear, then private actors with money would start performing their functions.
The author claims 6 seed companies are worse than hundreds of seed companies, but doesn't give a single fact to support that claim.
If a market is closed to new entrants purely because the economies of scale make the established players products cheaper, then that is one thing.
That is rarely the case. Usually, as described here, there are also deliberate attempts by the established players to exclude new entrants via other means.
"The primary supplier of syringes, which controlled 80 percent of the market, structured an arrangement with a vast network of hospitals that essentially closed our industry to new firms for good."
> The author claims 6 seed companies are worse than hundreds of seed companies, but doesn't give a single fact to support that claim.
Yes, he does:
"The result is that the farmer’s share of each retail dollar of food has been collapsing, while consumers pay either the same or higher prices. Mega-corporations in the middle exploit their dominant market positions to reap all the profits."
For ISPs the problem is that companies tend to expand. So where 20 years ago an ISP might have been a small regional provider. Things have consolidated and expanded so now that same company owns almost the entire infrastructure and many other services that depend on it. They can also bundle services together to make it harder for a new competitor to enter.
Not cooperatives. Co-ops tend to focus on their region, and have neither a reason to push into other territories, nor usually the foothold to do so as easily as in their own region.
"Farming out" your lines to outsiders then deciding that you don't want further construction efforts because 'the cables are already there' - effectively giving them a monopoly over your region - is what got us into this mess in the first place.
The problem with monopolies is that they begin to approach government like control over one or more dimensions of society, but we have no corruption control on them.
That's only if we demand unreasonable effectiveness of such a system.
In practice, it only requires that the people (consumers etc) can influence government and policy more than conglomerates and big private interests can.
Few people fear violence since they know the law is weak.
I come to HN so that I don't have to read such stupid, knee-jerk, badly thought through opinions. If you have to, post this in a Facebook comment thread, but not here.
What do you think would be the consequences of legally allowing lynching? And I mean all consequences, not just the ones you intend?
I've joked for years that the end stage of capitalism is "one company selling you oxygen".
Turns out someone else had that idea back in the 1920's and there is a 'sci-fi' book based on the premise.
As the professionals are probably fine bellowing off their ivory towers so they can later go doen as "having been right" rather than actually attempting to change things (except Lessig who iirc tried with a PAC), I don't think relying on them will get you anywhere. Better to analyze what the people think and why, and work to improve that baseline, than ignore it.
(Or come up with an alternative model of democracy which does privilege 'professional known' information with minimal corruption risk somehow.)
They naturally occur in markets with network externalities, which are quite common.
Of course industries like food service don't have monopolies, but they don't pay very well. They are also geographically restricted. I don't really care about those companies, they don't contribute much to the middle class.
Google is an effective monopoly, Amazon is certainly headed that way. Facebook is pretty close. Microsoft would be except the rare occurrence of someone writing a free operating system that was very good at the dawn of the internet age. Airlines are effective monopolies in their selective hubs. Monsanto certainly. They don't have to be the last company standing to show monopolistic tendencies in my mind. Microsoft wasn't technically a monopoly in the 90s, but it might as well have been.
Air France has a practically guaranteed monopoly within France; the only reason that monopoly doesn't extend past its borders is that international air transport agreements would make it impossible for Air France to control the entire French air transport system.
Where's that freedom to compete? If one argues that "Europe does it better," I might argue that either that person hasn't ever lived and done business in the US and hasn't lived and done business in Europe. Anyone that suggests that competition is protected in Europe (or in my case, specifically France,) has no idea what they're talking about. Competing against entrenched players in agriculture, transport, infrastructure and technology is excessively difficult. In the US anyone that can buy an airliner, get the FAA inspections can essentially start an airline. In France such an attempt would be met with violence. Air France itself attempted to start a budget airline in 2014 and strikes essentially shut down French aviation for over 11 days.
Protecting competition would mean the that the government wouldn't abide the labor monopolies that hamstring companies attempting to compete.
France does have monopolies -- although most of those monopolies are in labor -- and labor monopolies, otherwise known as unions are just as destructive as any other form of monopoly.
Europe does not do it better -- they just do it differently.
By Europe, I think you mean 3 or 4 countries in all of Europe. Most countries in Europe entirely fail at what you're claiming and most are embarrassingly behind the US on: innovation, productivity, median incomes, unemployment, global & domestic corporate competitiveness, research spending (both public and private).
I wasn't aware that Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, Poland, Hungary, Croatia, Belarus, Lithuania, Romania, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Bulgaria, Moldova, Serbia, etc. had such stellar economies, that functioned at a high level with excellent competition and dynamism.
The majority of nations in Europe are backwards, poor (often extremely poor), mediocre at competition, with terrible median incomes, terrible median household net worth levels, perpetual unemployment problems, and very stagnant innovation within their economies. The results - among the nations I listed for example - when it comes to GDP per capita, median incomes, unemployment, exports, etc. all speak very loudly.
Many of the nicer countries in Europe, have rigid economic systems that are narrow industry dependent, non-innovative and stagnant. That includes Norway, Denmark and Finland (which is trying to crawl out of a ten year near-depression, and is heavily dependent on ancient industries like paper production). France has had a stagnant economy for decades with hyper low growth, rigid is an understatement there; if they grow median wages at 1/4th the rate of the US, it's considered a good outcome.
Germany would be in the middle of a ten year recession, were they not free riding on their Euro neighbors when it comes to benefiting from an artificially cheap currency (cheap for them).
Europe is not better than the US at facilitating competition, a very select few countries in Europe may be (Sweden for one). Europe is overwhelmingly dominated by dynastic corporations, handed down through the generations (Europe overall has a far worse stagnant dynastic wealth score than the US), and have almost entirely failed to keep pace with the US when it comes to spurring very successful new companies in the last 30 or 40 years. That proof is in how far behind nearly all (not all, nearly all) European nations are in rapid innovation fields like software, Internet, mobile, AI, biotech, robotics, VR/AR, etc.
But feel free to list all the amazing Internet, biotech, robotics, AI, Mobile, etc. firms in the highly dynamic & competitive Russia or Greek or Spanish or Polish markets.
If I was wrong, the results, the economic standing, for all those nations I listed, wouldn't be so horrible. Poland wouldn't have a $13k GDP per capita; Russia's median income wouldn't be 1/5th that of the US; Spain wouldn't have 20% unemployment (still); Bulgaria wouldn't have a median income that's nearly at third world levels; and so on.
What you are saying about the economies of those countries might be true, but it's not necessarily because they are worse at regulating capitalism. The effects of the Soviet Union, the size of the countries, language barriers, sanctions on Russia, problems with how the currency works, etc are enough to cause the things you mention even if they are better at making their markets more dynamic and competitive than the US. Countries with five million people like Norway, Denmark and Finland simply don't have enough people to have multiple strong industries simultaneously.
What you're asking for is the opposite is the opposite of what you're stating the problem is. The courts doing nothing but enforcing contracts is expected.
Asking for the courts to step in to say "while legal this isn't right and won't be enforced" is asking for 'more reach' by the courts.
How would you know? We haven't had anything approaching a free market since the early 20th century, even if we ignore government-granted monopolies via restricted land grants and patents.
In a "free market", what is going to prevent this? Every actor here is acting in their best interest. What could possibly change their behavior other than the government telling them to?
ISPs are a special case because regulations make it difficult or impossible for competitors to run cable. But economies of scale turned cars, PCs, consumer electronics, air travel, etc, from rich peoples play toys into affordable products for the masses. As consolidation hit all those industries their products merely got cheaper and in most cases, far better.
The question isn't when economies of scale hurt, that's a loaded question. The question is "when does consolidation no longer benefit the consumer?". I would argue many, many industries have reached this point, with ISPs being the most obvious one, but there are many examples (like the syringe one given above) where a business you've never heard of silently corners the market through consolidation and trust building.
You can argue that Walmart hurt the standard of living of the Americans (less than 1% of US employees) who actually work for it. But that ignores the fact that the smaller competitors didn't pay much better, and never had a stock option plan, so the pay difference was marginal while the customer benefit was massive. Walmart big advantage wasn't labor costs, it was scale and inventory management from day one.
And it's products are as good or better as the competitors. I hate Walmart, hate shopping there, but when I have to I'm always struck by how good the products are and how amazing the prices are.
>It's inarguable that consumers got lower prices, substantially lower prices. That's increased their standard of living.
It's a multifaceted issue. Yes, Walmart sells cheap stuff, but that's not the company's only impact on the standard of living.
The middle class has been steadily shrinking since the 70s, consistent with the rise of Walmart
> You can argue that Walmart hurt the standard of living of the Americans (less than 1% of US employees) who actually work for it.
The key issue is not Walmart's employees, but rather the employees of the companies they source from.
> Walmart big advantage wasn't labor costs, it was scale and inventory management from day one.
Once again, it's about the cost of the goods they sell that has a bigger economic impact than their direct labor cost. What goes into the cost of the goods they sell? Labor costs of their suppliers. What did they do after their advantage of scale and great inventory management management eroded? They started sourcing products from markets that were fueled by cheap labor i.e. not the USA. Sam Walton has been rolling in his grave for years:
The first true Wal-Mart opened on July 2, 1962, in Rogers, Arkansas. Called the Wal-Mart Discount City store, it was located at 719 West Walnut Street. He launched a determined effort to market American-made products. Included in the effort was a willingness to find American manufacturers who could supply merchandise for the entire Wal-Mart chain at a price low enough to meet the foreign competition. --> https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Walton
> I'm always struck by how good the products are and how amazing the prices are.
You're probably one of very few
Add downsizing, consolidation, price gouging (i.e. Koch's, oil), and offshoring to get an even bigger one across the board. The Recession was a given with buying power always going down while costs always go up.
From what I've read, Despite the cheaper prices, there was a net loss in jobs and significant damage to small business-resulting in higher losses in the local economy than gained from cheaper product. I don't know if there's enough evidence of all of that, but it seems logical.
Also you're ignoring the local economic impact of closing small businesses. It's not just the small retail store employee that loses out. Small businesses close-that means there's less need for accountants, cleaners, advertisers, real estate, etc. Walmart does all of this at the corporate level. This results in even more, well paying job loss, and sets off a spiral that destroys these communities.
> And it's products are as good or better as the competitors.
Sounds like confirmation bias to me. Nothing I ever see or buy from walmart has ever been quality, but I couldn't present that as evidence.
Only when thinking in first-order effects. How about the city businesses it destroyed, and thus the standard of living associated with the families that owned them and the whole support system? How about the power it affects upon manufacturers -- and thus to the people that work there?
But it can destroy a whole lot of value (and be the last "business" standing) in the short and mid-run.
In fact as such businesses erode the working/middle class, short and mid-term they become more enticing to it than other stores, since they are the cheaper options.
If a company causes a "race to the bottom" for jobs and wages by selling too cheaply and paying too little, then those whose wages are affected will mostly be able to shop at that place exactly. And if that company is one business upon many that are causing the same issues, then people wont even be able to single them out for blaming...
A lot of people in the same economic class as the workers are receiving government assistance meaning you are footing the bill for the food stamps that feeds the cashiers kids while ironically congratulating yourself on the good deal you got.
Hong Kong is often held up as a fairly free market that has worked well. The government does get involved in health care and the like but commerce is pretty free.
By the time Standard Oil was broken up, railroads were everywhere, steel ships ruled the sea, cars roamed the roads. Homes were lit by electricity. Energy consumption had skyrocketed because the costs (esp. the cost of oil) had plummeted. Labor saving devices increased productivity and the standard of living, and were made possible by cheaper steel as well as cheaper energy.
It reminds me of Microsoft receiving credit for computers becoming pervasive and useful in everyday life, as if they deserve special recognition, or thanks, for brutally clawing their way to the top of a very profitable industry and ruthlessly suppressing competition, even when it meant scuttling superior technology. Clearly someone else would have made an OS for home and small business computing if Microsoft didn't.
We know exactly because of that. That there's the theoretical free market and the "really existing" one, and the really existing one is exactly what we get in practice if the big players get their way.
The US isn't even close to a free market (although it used to be very close), so I don't think the current performance of the US economy is a reasonable basis on which to judge free markets.
Similarly, many people used countries that were barely socialist to judge socialism, which is also a bad idea.
If the problem is universal, pitch to elite European hospitals, especially Swiss. They cater for rich patients from all around the world and if it's a good idea they'll definitely be interested. Later on, when it catches, American hospitals will come to you too.
Or maybe you will find that European hospitals has already figured this out in some way. Tough story, then.
Many many corners of the economy are little vertical command economies. Fiscal policy, de-toothing of regulators, and allowing large players to form cartels is the antithesis of free market. Markets require a firm regulatory hand to be free.
Medical is a great example. Between strategic sourcing in hospitals that killed all of the little companies making medical supplies, the CVS/Walgreens/RiteAid/ExpressScripts shitshow that eliminated meaningful retail and wholesale drug competition, and now the formation of regional medical cartels is a planned economy more valuable than the Soviet Union was.
In 10 years we'll be back to the Bell System for telecommunications, without the consumer protections and firm controls of tariffs that blunted the impact of the AT&T monopoly.
To me, it seems like we have a completely free market here... and that is the problem. Companies are free to create and exploit monopolies. It's the final state of a completely free market.
There are any number of anticompetitive practices that the market leader can engage in to effectively eliminate any threat to their monopoly from tying to predatory pricing to exclusive deals.
One of the things that fascinates and terrifies me most about American political discourse is this need to label things, and then have those labels divide people into polar opposites so they argue endlessly about the label, instead of the actual issue.
Really, who gives a s&%t what the hell you call the system you have now. It's completely meaningless. What really matters is you decide if it's good or not, and what to do about fixing it. THAT'S what really matters.
Americans have forgotten the point is to actually get around to improving things, they are so busy arguing about labels. "Single Payer" vs "Socialism", "Theocracy" vs. "Democracy", etc. etc.
At Retractable, "Shaw still isn’t any closer to breaking into the hospital market, and in the meantime the life on his patents is dwindling."
"So he has partnered with Chinese companies, which put up money to build assembly lines in China in return for permission to produce his syringes for the Chinese market. When his patents do run out, the Chinese manufacturers will be the ones poised to bring his technology to the world market, meaning all the jobs and economic benefits that could have gone to the local residents will instead go to the people of Gansu Province."
If you have a better product. A bigger corporate shouldn't be allowed to use its war chest to swing things in favor through buying out politicians, law or other such stuff.
We do not live in a free society, we are not free to do whatever we want; for example, I don't think anyone says we should be 'free' to murder anyone we want.
I think the GP is more accurate with fair. I'd actually say, it's a guaranteed to be 'open market' we want; meaning everyone must play by the same rules. Of course the challenge is that whoever sets the rules, will end up protecting their own interests, and then we end up where we are anyway. Maybe we can turn to AI to be absolutely fair in creating rules to establish open markets... and then AI becomes the pure benevolent dictator, except for that pesky off by one error I left lurking in the code :/
Which will make it non free. Free market requires mechanisms of preventing monopolies by its definition.
According to wikipedia:
"... are free from any intervention by a government, price-setting monopoly, or other authority."
The government is supposed to step in to block monopolies from controlling the market, but that implies that the government is intervening in the market. All I was pointing out is that there is no perfect system where politics, monopolies and private interests won't compete to control the market.
That's up to the society which wants to have a free market. For instance, anti-trust laws is one way of doing it.
> The government is supposed to step in to block monopolies from controlling the market, but that implies that the government is intervening in the market.
Someone should to step in here, whether it's government or not, is another question. But clearly, if market has no way of preventing a monopoly, it's not really free.
Actually, it is the central question, because without a feasible answer all you have is a fine-sounding principle that is utterly infeasible.
> One view is that a free market is a system in which the prices for goods and services are determined by the open market and consumers, in which the laws and forces of supply and demand are free from any intervention by a government, price-setting monopoly, or other authority.
That's how I define it. Monopoly makes the market non free.
But here's the thing... if there ends up being a monopoly, who exactly is going to intervene to stop it, if not the government or other authority?
Free market, which btw has grown to become a economical and political buzzword, is not "the ideal market of whatever one's personal ideology thinks will work best"; The core ideology behind it was to let the buyer and seller work on what works for them and keep third party interference to the least.
Fair market imply either party is made aware of all the details behind the trade in case of which price discovery is impossible as the buyers won't buy above real value and sellers won't sell below real value. Anti-trust and Anti-monopoly laws that are sub-points of a fair market are inherently against the ideal free market.
Also, theory does not really work in practice and no market is entirely free or fair.
Most businesses can choose better products (not sure about hospital industry). They can also choose to sign an agreement that makes a supplier relationship exclusive. For instance, a restaurant can sign an agreement to accept only Mastercard. Is this not a free market?
"But exclusive dealing also can be anticompetitive in some circumstances. For example, exclusive dealing may allow one manufacturer, in effect, to monopolize efficient distribution services and thereby prevent its rivals from competing effectively. As then-Judge Breyer explained, exclusive dealing can harm consumers by thwarting entry or inhibiting the growth of existing rivals:
'Exclusive dealing arrangements may sometimes be found unreasonable under the antitrust laws because they may place enough outlets, or sources of supply, in the hands of a single firm (or small group of firms) to make it difficult for new, potentially competing firms to penetrate the market. To put the matter more technically, the arrangements may "foreclose" outlets or supplies to potential entrants, thereby raising entry barriers. Higher entry barriers make it easier for existing firms to exploit whatever power they have to raise prices above the competitive level because they have less to fear from potential new entrants.'"
Except that it isn't the only restaurant. You need a much better example.
The problem arises when regulations are not kept up-to-date or the regulators are being outright bought (like in financial services), and that must change.
So a big company had 80% of the market? What about the other 20%?
Intel is definitely no longer the monopoly player they were after the huge success of ARM in lower power environments.
Intel certainly qualifies.
Again, I have no idea how to do this in practice.
Which is not the case here.
If I sign a one year gym contract and suddenly a much better, much cheaper gym opens across the street, I can whine that the gym market is "not free". In fact it is, not like "free" in "free beer" but in "free" like in "freedom". But if I insist of using the better gym instantly I may have to pay for two gyms at the same time.
Markets don't tend to entropy by themselves.
What about the other 20%? what about the international market? what about the non-hospital market (i.e. people who inject themselves, such as diabetics, at home)?
"How Democrats Killed Their Populist Soul
In the 1970s, a new wave of post-Watergate liberals stopped fighting monopoly power. The result is an increasingly dangerous political system."
<sarcasm>I'm a common man and that there sounds a bit socialistic. Real Americans(TM) pull themselves up by their bootstraps through grit, determination and hard work - they don't need big-government meddling.</sarcasm>
My feeling is that a negative view of regulation/government action has been unchallenged for decades in red America. In those areas, the democrats will never gain the common man that way because the negativity has been internalized.
In any event, the party/candidate that comes up and can execute a plan to aid the middle class (or least keep them getting pushed around), should rule the roost.
If Trump/Brexit/France showed us anything, it's that big money in politics has hit the point of diminishing returns and one-man, one-vote may not be completely dead.
By the late 1970s, the populist Brandeisian anti-monopoly tradition—protecting communities by breaking up concentrations of power—had been air-brushed out of the debate. And in doing so, America’s fundamental political vision transformed: from protecting citizen sovereignty to maximizing consumer welfare.
The two parties are nowhere near the same on economic issues. Yes, they are both largely in favour of free trade. But there are very significant differences in terms of philosophies the two parties take towards regulatory behaviour.
In short, the Democrats basically adopted the old Republican position on the only economic issue listed by the OP - exactly in line with my earlier point.
The AHCA failed due to a small handful of Republicans rejecting it, with one part of that handful complaining that it wasn't pulled rightward enough, and the rest actually realizing that going rightward wasn't politically-tenable as you said. Most of the party was totally fine with the AHCA.
But it didn't go far enough. It played in to the corporate healthcare system demands by not offering a competitive public option. The so called Blue Dog democrats blocked that, which is such a shame.
Far better than anything the Republicans have put on the table. The problem is that we basically have one sane party which is backed by corporate interests, and another party backed by the same or similar corporate interests which plays off fear for support.
I believe the only fix to this is to weaken party entrenchment, and have ranked choice voting in place; but who in these two parties would actually support that?
The solution would be employer-matched health savings accounts for casual care, with mandatory from 18-up catastrophic insurance at low premiums.
Don't the increased numbers of insured people contradict this statement? Being poor still sucks, and having to make this choice, still sucks. But it also expanded Medicaid coverage to more people.
They should have offered Medicare as an choice in every market, or at least every market where there are fewer than three options on the exchange.
> mandatory from 18-up catastrophic insurance at low premiums.
Isn't that what the law does? The mandatory bit is enforced with the tax penalty.
So please keep telling me how it's better.
A lot of people even think that "more expensive for most" still qualifies as "better" as long as it means that people that previously could not get coverage at any cost are now able to, since none of us know when we might develop a "pre-existing condition" that pre-ACA would have made us uninsurable forever.
Whether a system is truly better or worse depends on how you account for all the different people that it helps or hurts. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2017/jan/05/... has some examples that suggest that things are better for a whole lot of people under ACA, but I'm sure other groups and analyses will paint different pictures.
My income has been pretty irregular over the past few years. All but two months I've made $0. In two months I made many tens of thousands of dollars. I got denied for free coverage because of the two months I earned money. I got denied for purchasing through the exchange because my projected income was $0/mo. /me is an edge case, I guess. So, having some time off, I left the country for 8 months and didn't purchase US insurance while I was on the other side of the globe. Another edge case found...since I wasn't outside of the country for 11 months in a calendar year, I had to pay the penalty for the entire year, despite being nowhere near US health services for the entirety of the time I didn't have health coverage. I now have health coverage that I'm purchasing directly from a health insurer. It's expensive and a plan I could have bought pre-Obamacare.
As a programmer, I see Obamacare as the equivalent of rushed code that only works for the primary success case and crashes whenever you throw any abnormal situation at it. Too bad they couldn't have hired Silicon Valley engineers to fix the legislation as well as they fixed the healthcare.gov website. I've found at least 3 bugs in it that need to be fixed.
Price is an important aspect to health-care but devoid of any other information it doesn't mean much.
> So please keep telling me how it's better.
It expanded Medicaid and gave premium discounts to lower income brackets in states that accepted it.
Speaking of the graph... what is that huge gap that opened between between "Workers Contribution to Premiums" and "Premiums" in 2010, right when the ACA was signed into law? Is that just... raw profit taking?
What you think of as meaningful differences someone else might think of as nominal differences.
> not paying attention or willfully ignorant
I love how you've left out a third choice, which is, "they just disagree with me and my own economic forecasts." You know you've really gone down an interesting road when the only way someone can disagree with you is if they're a boob (accidental or not).
You've been saying how there's a perspective where they do not meaningfully differ, but you have not actually articulated how that perspective is valid. My position is that this perspective is not valid, and recent events with the AHCA have made this very clear.
Basically discussed shift from discussion in politics about democracy to economics.
The only article I can find discussing them are from after Bush was re-elected in 2004 when he proposed a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, but allowing states to have civil unions.
If that's what you're talking about, then I hardly think it is surprising that Democrats balked.
Given the outcome, I find this an odd talking point of failure to compromise. We dodged a separate but equal bullet..
Are you implying that the 20 million people that now have medical coverage because of Democrats pushing for Obamacare isn't worth it? Was that all "talk"?
I'm seriously trying to understand your "equivalency" position.
Let me know what the Republicans would have done for health care? Right now it seems that the only thing they've done is to actually limit universal health care, so we have less than 100% coverage.
Are the two parties the same on health care?
Right now I don't trust anybody that says the two parties are the same, since they are clearly very, very different. In fact, it seems the only people that say that are Republicans that don't have a better argument?
Are you a Republican? Or maybe you fall under the auspices of a white-male demographic that bias towards conservatism?
Perhaps you can't imagine it, but I really don't care about purported "differences" between Ds and Rs. It's clear that both of those gangs are interested in exploring only a tiny portion of the universe of political possibility. (So far, that seems to be the portion that maximizes public payouts to big political donors!) I have voted and will vote for any departure from that tiny area, in any direction whatsoever. If Vladimir Lenin and David Hume both rose from the grave and ran on a ticket together, I would vote for that. Unlike everyone who votes every election for the status quo (NB: that's you!), I am not a conservative.
Because if it's the latter, do you think the 20 million additional people that receive health-care under Obamacare isn't a difference?
Because, like Joe Biden said, it's a "big fucking deal".
Also, you're not helping your cause by saying you're a Bernie-bro. Bernie-bros are generally racist, as he supports a largely xenophobic nativist trade policy.
There's a reason Bernie's base is largely white. Bernie and Trump supporters are the same.
In the end, you should never trust anyone that claims the two parties are equal. Those people have other problems they need to work out first. Maybe they just don't want 20 million Americans to have health care?
So let's hear from you, what are we supposed to do? Respectfully defer to the pundits endlessly quibbling about the differences between D and R? That is also part of the problem, in case you hadn't noticed...
You're supposed to pick a side, from the choices given to you, because that's how government works.
Government is not about getting what you want. Government is about picking from the limited choices given to you. Complaints about your limited choices go unheeded, because no one wants 300 million choices in government since everyone wants to be their own pretty princess that rules the country. So we, as a society, decided to limit you to 2 choices, and you can proceed from there.
So, which side are you on? R or D? Pick, because no one is on your side.
This speaks for itself
They would complain less, and be more appreciative of the people that actually choose to run for public office.
What really blows my mind is that all these self-described "progressives" have decided this particular monstrous warmonger is the line they won't abide crossing. Have you ever actually listened to a single thing HRC said?
Government is about what you do for others.
Government is not about what it does for you.
Why? Because you are insignificant.
"Obamacare" (formerly known as "Romneycare") is a republican healthcare plan. One of the big reasons we claim that our two major parties are approximately equivalent is the Democrats' habit of passing Republican policies.
> since they are clearly very, very different
There are differences between R & D that are significant, but they are minor compared to all the ways they are the same. You can be 100% sure that politicians will side with their establishment, monied donors.
> Are the two parties the same on health care?
No, but they're both bad. Yes, Republicans are not going to improve healthcare, but neither are the Democrats. Did you know Feinstein said a few days ago in a town hall that she has no intention to support single-payer?
> it seems the only people that say that are Republicans
Assuming things like that only makes you sound partisan or uninformed. I'm not a Republican, so now you have a counterexample.
I don't know Feinstein's motivations, nor am I knowledgeable about the internal politics of the Democratic Party, but do you think her rejection of single payer has more to do with politics than with actual belief? The "public option" was realistically the closest America ever came to a single payer system, and that proposal was largely sunk by Republicans in Congress, though some Democrats in right-leaning states also rejected it. Are Democrats just trying to compromise in a right-leaning political climate, or are they truly the same?
The only people who deserve to be compared to here are the people who voted for her.
So my family has no long term medical insurance and no one is counting our dropping medical insurance in any statistic.
ACA marketplaces will insure about 13.1 million people in 2017 and insured 12.9 million in 2016. The rate of private insurance increased 1.2% from 2014 to 2015 and the rate of public insurance .6%.
Now, how much of this is due to ACA and how much is due to other factors is really impossible to separate. Almost anything would be pure speculation. Interestingly, premiums on the exchanges are climbing slower than private insurance .
Health insurance premiums had been rising for years, probably due to several issues: aging population, rising costs of equipment and pharmaceuticals, administrative overhead, tort, etc, etc. Additionally, ACA added some costs in the inclusion of pre-existing conditions. I don't disagree that something has to be done, but getting rid of ACA is not going to be a panacea.
It's like measuring productivity in lines of code. Once a metric becomes a target it's meaningless as a metric.
As to costs, those vary widely by state. This recent article in the NYTimes was a fairly good overview of how policy decisions can affect the premiums: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/21/health/how-gop-in-2-state...
The ban on pre-existing conditions was done either because the drafters of Obamacare have no clue what insurance actually is, or they actually wanted to destroy health insurance. No one is going to pay for coverage when healthy if they can sign up when sick.
Our first year of Obamacare was $1,100 a month for the same level of coverage as our banned $400 plan. The second year was $1,400 a month. This year the only available plan had the same $5k a year deductible, and was $1,800 month. So we don't have medical insurance any more.
The NY Times link is LOL, I notice how it didn't track how exchange prices have exploded. New Mexico's exchange is going to get crushed like all the others, it can't stop rational behavior. It will soon have to subsidize everyone or all self employed people will be out.
Oh good, so the alternative is a market where you'll never get coverage again once you are diagnosed with a condition - or even before, given that insurers have been sued for attempting to cancel coverage when a condition is diagnosed by going back and looking at previous physician visits. "Oh, we know you weren't diagnosed with cancer back then, but you went to the doctor a bit, and the things you went for are consistent with that, so we determined you had cancer when you got coverage, and as a result are canceling your policy for this".
Health insurance is not insurance in any definition of the word. Insurers want as many of the benefits of insurance as possible while wanting to assume as few of the risks as possible, things they shouldn't be able to do as an insurer. I've watched it for a long time (hint: one of my jobs is designing claims adjudication and management systems for health insurers).
Go your way, where insurers can exclude, and in very short order, everyone will. And then the only ones who offer coverage that support pre-existing conditions will be the ones willing to gouge those people.
But you won't care, as long as _your_ premium is $400/mo, right? Or at least until someone in your family gets sick.
Here's the dirty little secret: actuaries and statisticians working for the insurers factor in all these conditions (in the medical sense) into their premium accounting. What percentage of what demographic is likely to get an illness or disease, etc.
They have to. Or they'd go bankrupt.
So they do. And then they work feverishly to cover as few of those people as possible, to increase their profit profile, reduce their exposure and risk.
If that's what people "wanting to destroy health insurance" want to be rid of? I entirely support them.
This is what the tax penalty was meant to prevent, correct? I'm curious, what is your solution to insuring people with pre-existing conditions?
Got cancer? Fine, we'll still cover breaking your leg, as long as the break isn't from cancer invading the bone or from cancer drugs weakening your bones. You're on your own for the cancer.
This is why the real policy issue is lack of healthcare, not lack of "health insurance", which is a fake benefit invented to maybe get you healthcare.
Would you buy a lottery ticket if it was known to be a winner? Sure! Would anybody want to sell it? No! That isn't a viable business model.
What you are looking for is more like welfare. You have a problem, there is no gamble, you don't have the money, and you expect "society" to pay. That definitely isn't insurance.
Those are the options: insurance, welfare, self-pay
Imposing a duty to handle pre-existing conditions on "insurance" companies is forcing a business to provide welfare. Obviously, people will switch from the cheap company (or none) to the high-quality company when they get a problem. The tax on people without "insurance" is intended to discourage this, but it is ineffective because "insurance" costs more and because people will still switch from cheap to fancy.
In any case, we've invented some pretty fancy health care. Giving it to everybody would exceed our GDP. This is obviously unworkable. The situation only worsens as we invent more. How do you propose to limit usage, if not by price? Would you just promise everything, but let people die on waiting lists? Would you rate and rank people, perhaps on a point system with extra points for politically-connected people?
I think it was just a few months ago that some girl in the UK headed to the USA for surgery, mortgaging a house to get it. The UK had decided that the surgery might not be the cheapest option that would meet a low-end standard of care, so they said no. That was it: leave the country, get an inferior surgery, or be permanently deformed.
That is typical. Also typical is "yes, of course, but the waiting list is 2 years". Also typical is "denied for people over age 60". For example, a hospital in the USA gave my 80-year-old grandmother hepatitis. Being the USA, she got a treatment that costs about $100,000. At her age, that would have been denied under the typical government healthcare system. It wouldn't be cost-effective you see, so she would just die.
So the fantasy of everybody getting the very best is out. It won't happen. It can't happen. How would you like to deny healthcare to people?
In the USA, we are really touchy about having the government say "no". We are also really touchy about paying for other people, especially people who don't seem to contribute much to society. That is just how Americans feel, on average. Life expectancy and infant mortality metrics are just fine in the USA if you ignore the poor, as typical Americans do. When you say that socialized health care helps, and you point to averages, you aren't selling Americans on the idea. The better-off Americans want care that is better and cheaper, not available to more people.
I would like to see your peer-reviewed research that you did to come up with your data.
A lot of these "monopolies" result because of regulation pushed by combination of well-meaning and self interested people and corporations (see bootleggers and baptists).
Her examples suggest it'd be better to focus on the marriage between corporations and government, which allows companies to focus their energy on getting gov to hassle their competitors vs improving their own product.
Monopolies are not all bad. Sometimes a company has a monopoly because they just offer a better product (Amazon, Google) and they shouldn't be punished for that, especially when there's no government intervention that exists to protect them.
Airlines have huge market barriers: getting and maintaining huge, expensive, gas guzzling aircraft. That is not a regulation barrier.
Both telecomm and health care are intwined monopsonies backing the play of regional monopolies (cartels) backing federal congresspeople.
I just don't buy any of your comment as fact at all.
Amazon has to compete with other online retailers and local retailers. How many scams it allows is a measure of it's competence, not it's market power. If I get scammed on Amazon they are getting a charge-back and will have to deal with my credit card company.
Not true. It costs a lot of money to purchase a commercial aircraft, and not because of regulation. It also costs a lot of money to start up an ISP, and not just because of regulation.
Yes, we should stop the people that want to undermine the purpose of regulations. Regulations are critical to assure the safety of our medicines and of what we eat. But we need to pay more attention to the abuses, and to separate the well-needed regulations from the abuses pushed by interested parties. But that is true for all the government work, we should stop the interference of a small powerful few so we can get what society, as a whole, needs.
Obviously, those things are subjective, but I would welcome a political discourse that centered on how we slice those concerns.
A strip mall with a Subway, a couple national fast food joints, and if you're big enough, Wal-Mart.
There are literally 1000s of towns with this copy and paste setup-- how could this not be detrimental when money is going to a huge corporation every time?
In order for Wal-Mart to be detrimental you would need to evaluate these factors:
- What is the percentage of local business owners among the populace that you are aiming for? You would want a majority/large minority of people to be business owners to reap the wealth benefits, but in Wal-Mart's case you're essentially transferring wealth from the poor strata to a new middle-to-high class strata of business owners.
- Can local businesses employ more local community members and pay better wages? This is a possibility if you assume Wal-Mart is pocketing huge profits for themselves, which altruistic business owners would instead redistribute among the community in the form of wages. This expectation does not mesh with my experience but I don't know if there's any study on this, maybe I'm wrong.
- Can you evaluate whether the huge corporation is pocketing more money from your community than a collection of local businesses? While the huge corporation may make tons of money, what is the profit they extract from just your community, and how would it compare when replaced with local business? Obviously, you would allow for some leeway since at least the profits are going to some members of your community.
- Would consumers be willing to take a hit to their standard of living in order to support local businesses? I'm skeptical, as even in the entrepreneurial-friendly US(expected higher number of business owners per capita?) the rise of corporations has been eradicating local business.
These are both cases where it's not so much anti-merger/monopoly law that's the culprit, but the general structure of the legal system that favors those with the larger pockets and forces out upstart manufacturers.
1 - http://www.golfdigest.com/story/ball-wars-costco-files-lawsu...
Now patents are used by those who don't make anything and often don't even invent anything in order to blackmail those who do.
That last bit sentence me a bit odd. Rather than go into the details of incentives of hospitals and why they would forgo a better alternative, the author just attributes it to "monopoly". If this is true, there is some deeper misalignment with incentives in this industry that won't go away by just removing product providers that control a significant portion of the market. Or something that the author doesn't know about the industry that would make this decision make sense.
What do you do?
Further it's all short vs long term pricing. In the short term a company will setup lower prices to kill of competitors, the when there is no competition they raise prices significantly to have a long term war chest. So, on a day to day basis they might be the cheapest option, but their average price over decades is more than their short lived competition.
So even if a competitor with 10% cheaper goods comes along, the consumer sticks with the monopoly 100%, for fear of being dicked by the consumer's 99% prices.
In an ideal world, such agreements would be illegal, leading to a freer market.
A sizable fraction of large markets are dominated by monopolies or oligopolies. While it's arguable which factors contribute most, it's an observed fact that this happens, so I'm not sure I'd call any particular instance "a bit odd." Sadly.
I also found interesting the only two brief mentions of patents in the article. One, a dominant vendor historically using patents to quash startups. Two, the startup the article focuses on has patents that would expire soon (maybe have, the article is from 2010), so other companies would benefit from their innovation (the article mentions a Chinese manufacturer, where the startup eventually took their product).
If the startup's product was really better, why didn't they license their patents to the big vendors? Was the startup simply greedy? The startup's research was largely paid for by taxpayers, why did they need a patent at all? It seems odd to expect inventors will also be good entrepreneurs and litigators: this seems a situation in which grants or prizes without patents would be superior. Alternatively, it points to some market failure in licensing patents that maybe could be solved by some kind of compulsory licensing, eliminating the problem of too greedy startups holding out. How am I wrong?
Finally, with articles like this about the health care industry, I'm always struck by intense focus on bringing innovations to market in the US, and the huge barriers to doing so. I realize that the US is the largest market, but still. Maybe BRIC and other companies should get better at delivering innovations stalled in the US, or maybe the innovations aren't actually so great?
Go to congress. Lobby. While you may be outspent, that isn't everything. You can also apply pressure via an ad campaign, asking voters to demand that nurses are safe. There is some real emotional appeal potential here.
End result: the dominant company is forced to cave in some way. They can buy the syringe, allow an exception for the syringe, or just lose 100% of their customers.
I get paid well, but there is something really strange going on: I can't get my contracts directly. I always have to go through a company whose sole business it is to be an intermediate between the (large) company that wants to hire a freelancer and the freelancer. Note that those freelancers are not employed by that company and the relationship is pretty loose. The business pays the intermediary and they pay you, it's a per-project contract.
The large companies won't hire someone directly even though they would save lots of money (and freelancers would get more). Suspicious as you guys are you probably think that well, there must be a logical business reason that it actually really is worth the additional money being spent on the intermediary. For example, finding and bundling lots of freelancer resumes. While that sure is a reason it isn't nearly sufficient for an explanation, not only because they actually do precious little for the money they keep. Also, the legal side can't be the reason either when I look at how the contracts between me and the intermediary are set up.
To give one example from a very large client I worked for for 1.5 years as a freelancer, the reason I was told they go through the intermediary is that it makes their accounting much easier. Since I once worked for that company and experienced the exact same thing I was not surprised: When I worked for them in Silicon Valley I saved the company a lot of money by looking for an apartment myself. I ended up sharing one with somebody else. However, the expensive all-inclusive one-bedroom apartment I had had in Mountain View had the advantage that there only was a single bill (paid by corporate Amex card). The (far cheaper) shared apartment I got instead produced a handful of different invoices (furniture rental, cheques for the rent instead of Amex, etc.), so the company told me they would have preferred to pay the much higher amount from a single source. Which I don't quite understand - I do have some business background and understand accounting, in the computer age, what's the big deal? In the freelancer scenario they said it just works better with their SAP system then having lots of individual contracts. That company also had a big program to "streamline" and centralize their purchasing, which of course means having significantly less firms to deal with as a goal that overrides other concerns.
So, it seems the large businesses prefer to work with other large businesses, no matter how much money they could save. We don't even need to argue whether and/or how much legal and business reasons are valid or not, I think the only thing that matters for the purpose of the discussion is that the effect exists, and that that means "market" is more and more a lie the more of a countries wealth creation is done by big businesses. You don't need to look for actual "monopolies" in the classical sense, those firms quite voluntarily restrict themselves (and again, the bottom line is that it exists, how justifiable it is from the individual firm's POV is a different question, let's assume they know what they are doing and that it makes sense for them).
Meanwhile, "managing" contracts is almost as expensive as managing employees.
At some point having an accounting dept manage 10K contracts is simply impossible.
Its a labor and control fraud limitation not technological.
And there's little in the way of taking a strong anti-trust (competition law) in politics. The Obama administration watched over, and permitted mergers that very blatantly reduce competition: multiple airlines, and drug companies. And it was more aggressive overall in applying competition law compared to previous Republican administrations. So, point is, even with a Democratic president, competition law isn't pressed strongly enough, let alone with a Republican in office where it's apparently "we need to recognize more natural monopolies, and help them whenever possible".
About the only thing all Americans might be able to agree on when it comes to politics, is the increasingly obvious need for a constitutional amendment getting money out of politics.
Markets don't devolve into "monopolies" very often. In Microsofts case, it had an operating system that provided massive economies of scale to customers. You could run it on any compatible PC and be guaranteed to be able run hundreds of leading applications. Most businesses are significantly more productive with 100% windows than 50% windows and 50% other platforms. The only reason Apple Mac OS is in corporate America is because of it's special advantages in specific uses. It's always been too expensive to equip everyone with a Mac, esp. your lowest paid order entry/support types.
Most markets don't grow economies of scale for their customers in that manner. The advantage of having all of your sales people drive Fords instead of a mix of cars is a minor one from a fleet purchase perspective. And the same advantage can be had with a fleet purchase agreement with virtually any competitor.
And Apple has the most mobile device profits.
Still, I agree: nowhere near a monopoly.
The author never establishes any of this. How did this make it to the front page?
She presented numbers related to how many new businesses were formed recently in small towns vs large towns. Sure, she didn't go through the hoops to explain that more new businesses = more new jobs = more local wealth, but would that have even contributed to the article?
> The premise that monopolies are bad is never explained.
The article did attempt to explain this through an anecdote about a superior syringe being blocked off the market by another company that held a monopoly on medical devices & arranged contracts with buyers to lock them in.
Maybe she should have been more explicit - and I'm not trying to say that the article's good material for HN - but she did at least touch on most of those points.
Today we have Trump favoring Coal, Oil, military contractors, the Sands corporation (Sheldon Adelson) and corporations searching for special favors such as Tariffs, etc, because of their contributions to his campaign.
Hilary would have favored Wall Street banks, hedge funds, "green companies" in search of federal handouts, unions, etc.
We have the political system we have because of massive contributions by moneyed players who want either handouts or rules to keep competitors out.
Once I get the machine running, I want to focus on providing tools and information to others looking to do the same thing.
I've been running a Slack channel called ISP School for about a year now to bring together other interested people. Email me at email@example.com if anybody wants an invitation.
So we registered with the PSC as a telegraph provider...
We're operating on a brand new municipal network right now and it's not awesome. In an effort to be fair to all parties, no one is actually in charge. The network operator is separate from the construction contractor who is separate from the bandwidth providers. It's extremely frustrating.
It was the monopoly power of AT&T that got them phone lines in the first place.
One of the consequences is that doctors are beholden to large corporations who have teams of lawyers to handle legal issues and malpractice lawsuits. Since there are limited slots, some of them even work in foreign countries until they get experience to land a job in the US, which is a waste of talent.
If anyone could start a medical practice, a new syringe company could sell to smaller practices that haven't yet been mired in enterprise contracts.
Right now, in order to even build a hospital you have to submit "evidence of need" to the government to get approval. Imagine if every startup had to convince a bureaucrat that they were needed: fewer people would be interested in starting one.
It's probably worth considering moving medical negotiations from insurance companies and employers to the consumer. I don't know that it's very common to call up multiple doctors and find the one with the lowest price, because you're paying your insurance company to do the negotiation for you. Taxing employer-provided health insurance as income might remove the incentive for them to provide it at all. Together with deregulating the entire medical industry, it would make it possible to buy cheap treatment without insurance, which might be enough to make insurance less important.
* Somebody starting a "Yelp for doctors"
* The government could give some approval stamp to doctors using all the existing restrictions, and you could always ask a doctor "Are you XYZ-approved?" It would be a very serious crime for a moonstone-carrying crackpot to lie about his governmental approval, and his status could be verified on a government website. People who solely use government-approved doctors would still benefit, since licensed doctors would still be competing against unlicensed doctors, so there'd be a limit to how much the government policy could distort the market.
* People who repair your sidewalk or furnace often advertise "licensed, bonded, and insured". A furnace can burn your house down, which seems a similar risk to medical malpractice. You could ask your doctor if he's licensed by the government, has put his personal capital into a bond, and is insured.
I'm skeptical that "Yelp for doctors" will in practice be more efficient than up front regulation about who can provide certain services.
I certainly think there are impediments that should be removed, just not all of them.
That the changes weren't undone in the 90s when much of the economic forces were re-aligned was a problem, but understandable since nobody wanted to go back to that mode. We are living in the opposite local minimum of growth and deflation where the economy is growing but inflation isn't happening because real income is going down.
That said I believe that making single supplier contracts unenforcable would be an interesting change to try.
And repeating that I agree with the basic premise that single supplier contracts should be made unenforcable however to do that you have to provide a way to penalizing companies that do things to enforce them.
That'd be pretty unfortunate, if the low inflation mandate of the fed kept inflation below some inflection point where economic growth is more likely.
1. Keep buying up advertising to make sure that any potential competitor cannot afford eyeballs.
2. Keep hiring up as much technical talent as possible to make sure that any potential competitor doesn't get access to that talent in order to build a competing product.
3. Keep subsidising the cost of their own services (at a loss to themselves) in order to make the market non-viable for any potential competitor.
It's a scorched-earth approach.
Any company that has the money can create an artificial monopoly for themselves by engaging in any of the three activities above.
However, those activities are increasingly expensive because they drive up advertising costs and engineer salaries.
If companies keep doing this, eventually, they'll make the market non-viable even for themselves.
I just finished watching a nice dram series called 'Shitamachi Rocketto' which might be of interest to folk on HN.
Businesses have built up "moats" throughout the system, leading to high prices and poor service. This is the source of the "cost disease" that makes our healthcare too expensive.
Competition is part of the very foundation of capitalism. Without it, capitalism itself doesn't work. So we better figure out some answers.
This is the kind of big government republicanism that is killing the party. Import tariffs benefit to benefit a few rich corporations and key donors, and screw everyone else. Frame it as a return to the "good old days" that never existed like you remembered. Taft-Hartley existed in those days, and it was a terrible time.
Boohoo, thay might have half their markup eaten up if they built them someplace that doesn't have to have suicide nets underneath the windows of the factory.
And if you complain about the stupidness of regulations, the responsibility shysters barricading proclaim you hysteric or careless.
My personal favorite is lumber-work, where in some of the heavy duty protection equipment you are supposed to wear is so heavy, people make exhausted stupid mistakes and get injured because of the security measure.
Example references the Kevlar jackets and trousers- lately partially replaced by lighter plastic protection gear.
The worst part is - some regulations introduce routine- and routine kills.
There are good examples, like the Japanese railroad signal system though, so its not all bad.
Can you point to anyone who has qualifications beyond being a pundit that believes that things would work out as you say?
There are a slew of reasons why its more expensive to manufacture things here in the US - globalization, cheap labor overseas. Taxes on corporations have no increased though in that period of time.