As a teaching assistant in BYU’s American Heritage course, I taught that although monopolies and cartels are a market weakness, attempts to squelch them are mostly futile, because profits attract fierce competition and technological innovation overcomes barriers to entry, whether natural or manufactured. These also tend to minimize the negative effects of monopolies on consumer well-being–monopolistic industries almost always become more competitive over time.
My view on antitrust issues changed with the antitrust class at BYU where I learned that, by using accepted economic analysis, the DOJ economists could identify whether a merger would increase or decrease consumer well-being.
If we are in favor of competition, how much power do we want the federal government (DOJ) to have in policing competition? To prevent illegal activity (yes, the definition of â€œillegalâ€ here may be dubious), the govâ€™t should arguably possess a credible threatâ€”usually the litigative processâ€”but that threat has the potential to mire the company in court hearings for several years, and castrate its innovative impulses. That is something everyone should oppose.
I certainly don’t find my internet activities limited by Google’s business model. Do you?
If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.