If in autumn 2020 voters face a second consecutive repulsive choice, there will be running room between the two deplorables. Because of its 2016 efforts, the Libertarian Party will automatically be on 39 states’ ballots  this fall and has a sufficient infantry of volunteers to secure ballot access in another nine. So, if the Libertarian Party is willing, 2020’s politics could have an ingredient recently missing from presidential politics: fun. And maybe a serious disruption of the party duopoly that increasing millions find annoying. Stranger things have happened, as a glance across Lafayette Square confirms.
When firms merge, such as AT&T and Time Warner, no one knows for certain if the larger firm will improve the quality of its offerings or lower the costs of producing them. The leaders of the merging firms predict this happy outcome. They anticipate that the improved quality or lower costs will increase the firm’s sales. Yet as the old saying goes, the proof is in the pudding — or in this case, in the actual process of market competition.
If the merged firm really does manage to produce higher-quality outputs or lower its production costs, that firm will profit and remain in business. Other firms, alert to this success, will imitate it. Notice that this firm’s success depends on consumers voluntarily buying more of its outputs. But if the firm fails, for whatever reason, to profit after the merger, then it will either break itself up — as AOL-Time Warner did in 2009 — or go bankrupt.
From the perspective of AOL-Time Warner shareholders, that 2001 merger was a failure. Monday-morning quarterbacks can wag their fingers and say that it should never have been allowed. But because markets are dynamic and the future forever uncertain, the only way to discover which mergers are beneficial and which are not is to allow maximum possible scope for business people to experiment. The same is true for nearly all other business practices.
Here’s a video of my intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy explaining why she disagrees with yesterday’s Wayfair decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on allowing states to tax on-line sales .
Right out of the box, the paper commits a fatal error in attributing China’s economic growth to its remaining non-market practices. It is simply not true that much of China’s growth has been achieved because of its “aggressive acts.” China’s growth has been driven by its market liberalization, as incomplete as that process has been. The turning point for China was not when its government embraced a policy of forced technology transfers or restrictions on foreign investment, but rather when it began to turn away from the disastrous inward looking central planning of the Mao era.