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An Open Letter to Lina Khan

I thank Washington University’s Ian Fillmore for alerting me to Lina Khan’s indescribably arrogant assertion.

Ms. Lina Khan, Chairwoman
Federal Trade Commission
Washington, DC

Ms. Khan:

During your recent appearance on The Ankler podcast you said the following: “Where producers are making something that consumers value and consumers want, but the market is not set up to allow them to succeed, when you have somebody with a good idea and a viable business built around that good idea, but the market is not rewarding that good idea, it suggests that something is broken in the market and that there may be a competition problem.”

Might I suggest that you switch careers? Your remark implies that you can identify in the abstract – and, indeed, contrary to concrete evidence from actual exchanges in actual markets of actual goods and services at actual market prices – products that consumers really do want and that can be supplied profitably but that currently are not being supplied. If your speculation is correct, you are a singular entrepreneurial talent. Such talent should not be wasted in a bureaucratic post. Resign from the FTC and become a serial entrepreneur. History shows that the essence of successful entrepreneurship is the ability and gumption to overcome apparent market obstacles and creatively destroy with superior arrangements familiar but less-efficient patterns of production and distribution.

If, as you suggest, you possess this remarkable entrepreneurial vision – if you are in fact as prescient as you claim to be about market opportunities – investors from around the globe will clamor to fund your ventures, consumers will thrill to the new goods and services you make available, the American economy will grow, and the profits that you’ll earn in the process will make the combined fortunes of Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk look, in comparison, like the contents of a half-empty piggy bank.

But if you are not as prescient as you imply about market opportunities (as would be evidenced by your continuing to work as a bureaucrat), the case for your resigning is even stronger, for the nation is imperiled when government power is in the grips of individuals with a God complex.

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

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