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Quotation of the Day…

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… is from page 416 of University of Connecticut economist Richard Langlois’s excellent new article “Hunting the Big Five: Twenty-First Century Antitrust in Historical Perspective [2],” which appears in the Winter 2019 (Vol. 23) issue of The Independent Review (reference deleted; link added):

Increasingly, these small-business owners looked to government to defend them against economic change, and they adopted the amorphous antimonopoly sentiment of the populists. “In general,” writes Robert Wiebe [3], “businessmen below the level of magnates subscribed to some variant of the theory that ‘the growing power and influence of trusts’ destroyed honest enterprise and stunted ‘the hope and ambition of the youth of the country.’ They shared, in other words, the widespread, ill- defined antimonopoly sentiments of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. But like ‘Wall Street,’ the term ‘trust’ was a rubbery one, covering whatever economic forces worried a particular businessman at a particular time.”

DBx: Existing producers, ever in search of whatever monopoly power they can persuade the state to create for them, resist all competition. They resist competition from new businesses; they resist competition from new techniques of production and distribution; they resist competition from foreign businesses. And in seeking the rents that come from the successful grasp of monopoly power, producers operate with the wholly unjustified premise that consumers exist to serve them rather than that they exist to serve consumers.