Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Thank You

Brett Marston, for linking to the blog Oligopoly Watch. I'd never seen it before, and most interesting it is.

Speaking as someone who thinks Hayek got it exactly wrong (it's not government control over economy that inevitably leads to fascism, rather it's "categorical" privatisation that inevitably leads to authoritarianism and crypto-fascism), Oligopoly Watch is a nice addition to the required net reading that includes General Glut, Brad DeLong,Angry Bear, and Paul Krugman.

Oligopoly Watch is excellent for its content, the leitmotif of which is that the Sherman Antitrust Act becomes by the day both in spirit and practice more meaningless. But, yes, I have a bitch about it.

On the site's "about" page there's this ..well, disclaimer of sorts:

Are oligopolies sinister? Very possibly. But I think it's more useful to see how and why they work than simply rail against globalism and greed. While there are hatefully crooked businessmen (take any set of former Enron or Tyco executives for a start), most oligopolies are based on struggles for survival, not a result of innate evil. Like those proverbial sharks moving forward, businesses either grow or fail, and since most mature markets have limited growth potential, companies often grow by buying other companies. If nothing else, it's fascinating to see how they do it.

Why can't he rail AND analyse? I profoundly object to a study of what, after all, has human consequences, with such a profound disinterest, as if Oligopolies were as innocuous as distant stars or rock formations. I'm not asking anyone to be shrill, nor do I demand that everyone use the vulgar language that several bloggers (almost all of these are of Academe) object to. On the contrary, a moral assessment (or a cultural assessment) can be easily employed, with analysis, in measured tones. The style's up to the blogger/pundit; the obligation (pro or con), however, remains.

More specifically, I dislike how he gives them what constitutes an excuse, "they must grow or die", which explicitly buys into the social darwinist construct that causes all these problems to begin with.