Supporters of aggressive antitrust enforcement think that only antitrust suits prevented IBM from commandeering the personal-computer market and Microsoft from taking over the internet. But that’s an urban legend.
Historical evidence rebuts the claim that the antitrust suit forced IBM to stop bundling application software with its machines, jump-starting the modern software industry. As early as 1966, IBM had already made the decision to unbundle independent of the suit because it could no longer provide the variety of software that users demanded.
If there was an antitrust case from the late 20th century that might have had dramatic consequences for technology, it was the long-running suit against AT&T, which resulted in the breakup of the telephone giant in 1982. Unlike today’s targets, however, AT&T was a regulated monopoly. Its breakup was an act of deregulation in the name of antitrust.
For IBM and Microsoft, rapidly changing technology and unforeseen opportunities created market conditions that these juggernauts were imperfectly equipped to confront. Of course, when firms possess general-purpose capabilities, as may be the case with cloud computing today, they may be able to adapt to market changes. But that also suggests that large incumbent firms are strong potential competitors for one another.
“On this episode of Liberty Curious, Kate Wand sat down with Michael Munger, economist and professor of political economy at Duke University, to discuss the Classical Liberal diaspora. Diaspora refers to the scattering of liberals ‘of the old type’; the remnant, the libertarians, and the classical liberals, whose message about liberty and limited government gets lost in a sea of tribal left vs. right politics. They discuss how progressives and conservatives are both convinced that their morality and vision for society is correct, and have no qualms about using the power of the state to impose it upon the rest of us. They get into details about the classical liberal tradition, how we got to where we are now, and the dangers of wielding the ring of power in our favor.”
Families are smarter than Democrats and the media assume. Moms and dads can figure out when their kids are working too much—or too little. They’re equally capable of recognizing the profound emotional, social and financial benefits that come with teenage work. If Democrats really want to hold on to suburban voters, they should stop insulting parents’ intelligence and start empowering teens to succeed.
Scientific American, which dates to 1845 and touts itself as “the oldest continuously published magazine in the United States,” recently ran an article arguing that scientists should prioritize “reality” over scientific “rigor.” What would make a publication with a name like this one set empirical evidence at odds with reality? Masks, of course.
Naomi Oreskes, a Harvard professor of the history of science, argued that by “prioritizing scientific rigor” in its mask studies, the Cochrane Library may have “misled the public,” such that “the average person could be confused” about the efficacy of masks. Oreskes criticized Cochrane for its “standard . . . methodological procedures,” as Cochrane bases its “findings on randomized controlled trials, often called the ‘gold standard’ of scientific evidence.” Since RCTs haven’t shown that masks work, she writes, “[i]t’s time those standard procedures were changed.”
City Journal contributing editor John Tierney called Cochrane “the world’s largest and most respected organization for evaluating health interventions.” A recent Cochrane review found that “[w]earing masks in the community probably makes little or no difference to the outcome of influenza-like illness (ILI)/COVID-19 like illness”—or “to the outcome of laboratory-confirmed influenza/SARS-CoV-2”—“compared to not wearing masks.” The review also found that “use of a N95/P2 respirators compared to medical/surgical masks probably makes little or no difference” for the “outcome of laboratory‐confirmed influenza infection.”
In a way, Oreskes has provided a public service with her article, as has Scientific American in running it. The article makes clear how willing mask advocates are to sacrifice scientific objectivity on the altar of their newfound religion.