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“People Are Too Healthy!” Complains the Physician

Here’s a letter that I sent several days ago to the New York Times:

Dear Editor:

Farhad Manjoo complains that public support for using antitrust to break up Amazon is being made too weak by Amazon’s good customer service – service that, according to Mr. Manjoo’s own descriptions, is jaw-droppingly excellent (“The Trouble With Breaking Up Amazon? Its Online Store Is So Good,” Feb. 12). This complaint is, to put it mildly, bizarre.

If the point of antitrust is to keep markets competitive so that companies are led to serve consumers as well as possible, then clearly there’s no need to use antitrust in this case. As Mr. Manjoo himself admits, “even as Amazon gets bigger, it still faces relentless competition.”

To lament the unwillingness to call on antitrust authorities to remove from a healthy industry non-existent monopoly power is akin to lamenting the unwillingness to call on surgeons to remove from a healthy body non-existent malignant tumors.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030