Hoping that Bezos, Cook, Pichai, and Zuckerberg Stand Their Ground Proudly

by Don Boudreaux on July 27, 2020

in Competition, Philosophy of Freedom

Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal:


Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Apple’s Tim Cook, Google’s Sundar Pichai, and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg should heed Andy Kessler’s wise counsel and stand their ground unapologetically when they testify before the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee (“Tech CEOs Deserve an Apology,” July 27). These executives create and maintain their companies’ successes under the intense pressure of competitive markets in which individuals, as investors and as consumers, spend their own money – a display of fortitude and talents in stark contrast to that of their interlocutors, whose business model is based on spending other people’s money.

Yet I’m pessimistic. I fear that Joseph Schumpeter was correct when he lamented nearly 80 years ago that

“the most striking feature of the picture is the extent to which the bourgeoisie, besides educating its own enemies, allows itself in turn to be educated by them. It absorbs the slogans of current radicalism and seems quite willing to undergo a process of conversion to a creed hostile to its very existence….

This is verified by the very characteristic manner in which particular capitalist interests and bourgeoisie as a whole behave when facing direct attack. They talk and plead – or hire people to do it for them; they snatch at every chance of compromise; they are ever ready to give in; they never put up a fight under the flag of their own ideals and interests.”*

Here’s hoping that my pessimism and Schumpeter’s lament prove to be misplaced.

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

* Joseph A. Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy (New York: HarperPerennial, 1950 [1942]), page 161.


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