George Will urges that today’s economically and historically uninformed antitrust wolves be kept, despite their rabid howling, in their den. A slice:

Warning against “monopoly fatalism,” the Cato Institute’s Ryan Bourne says: Time was, the A&P grocery chain was the entrenched “Amazon of its day,” with almost 15,000 stores by 1935. Seen one recently? Between 1976 and 1978, the government worried that IBM might have a monopoly on the “office typewriter industry.” A November 2007 Forbes cover story asked, “One Billion Customers — Can Anyone Catch the Cell Phone King?” Apple? No, Nokia. But Apple’s iPhone had arrived in June 2007. Bourne says Kodak’s domestic position in photography once “was even more dominant than Apple’s position in the mobile vendor market today.” “Who Will Break iTunes’ Monopoly?” asked a 2010 British headline. Fifty years ago, Xerox’s almost 100 percent of the photocopier market aroused antitrust complaints. Twenty-five years ago, the browser for about 90 percent of Internet users was the Netscape Navigator. In 1997, the year Google was founded, Yahoo dominated the search engine market. Twenty years ago, AOL had an estimated 90 percent of the instant messaging market. “Will Myspace ever lose its monopoly?” asked a Guardian technology writer in 2007, when it was the most-visited website. In 2008, it had an estimated 73 percent of all traffic on social networking sites. Remember when WordPerfect was considered an unchallengeable word-processing program?

My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy isn’t impressed with Donald Trump’s artistry at bargaining. A slice:

Most of the economic issues continue to come from the restrictions on commerce in many states and the fact that consumers are wary of catching or spreading the COVID-19 virus. No level of magical thinking and spending will really boost the economy under these circumstances.

Stacey Rudin uncovers reasons for the confusion behind the recent mixed messages on lockdowns from the WHO. A slice:

It’s difficult to reconcile this [pro-lockdown] stance with the data from states and nations which did not lock down for COVID19. For example, Swedish all-cause mortality is on average for 2020 — incredibly, the nation had higher per-capita mortality just five years ago, in a year in which there was no pandemic. This undeniable, easily-verifiable fact is shocking in light of the decimation of world economies on the premise of “stopping” a “highly deadly” pathogen. Far from “unethical,” allowing the virus to “run free” produced a much better result than tight lockdowns such as those imposed in Argentina and Peru — yet [WHO director-general] Tedros is ignoring this.

John O. McGinnis warns of the evil lurking in politicians’ demands to “follow the science.” A slice:

If the conveyor belt of science dictating politics has fallen out of favor in administrative law and is even more obviously inapplicable to politics in general, why are so many politicians returning to its rhetoric? The reason is that, even if it is an intellectually bankrupt tradition, it remains politically useful. Scientism is an attempt to shut down political debates.  It shifts the discussion from questions of value, which are accessible to all, to questions of facts which are in the domain of the experts, thus shifting the terrain of the debate. It also hampers the evolution of expert consensus, because when science becomes a front for politics, dissenting from the party lines becomes harder even for experts. And it allows progressives to portray their opponents as ignorant. That has been a common trope of progressive politics: conservatives are the stupid party.

Bryan Caplan makes the case that “the freedom to do bad things is important. Much more important, though, is the freedom to do good things that sound bad.”

Scott Lincicome writes sensibly about the heavy costs of Trump’s trade wars war on Americans who buy imports.

Ron Bailey corrects the misperception created by a new U.N. report on losses caused by natural disasters.

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