David M. Brown's Blog

March 11, 2010

Stop using success as a reason to club successful competitors over the head

Filed under: Economics,Politics,Technology — davidmbrowndotcom @ 8:31 pm

In an interesting piece over at the Atlantic web site on the evolution of gadgets and competition among gadgets like Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iPad, MeganMcArdle notes without comment the likely intervention of the Justice Department whenever a company becomes super-successful without comment.

Such intervention should be universally deplored. A firm can’t remain successful without the patronage of customers. If customers are complaining in a big way about some baleful practice of the market-dominator, this provides an opening for competitors to lure those customers away if they can match or surpass the compensating benefits that brought folks to the market-dominator to begin with. We don’t need government thuggery to ensure market competition…in fact it is an impediment to market competition. It is a criminal violation of individual rights to coercively interfere with the terms of voluntary contracts, or with such “ominous” technological choices as integration of product features (OS with browser), or with a firm’s refusal to use its own product to showcase the wares of competitors (which Microsoft is now being forced to do in Europe vis-a-vis competiting browsers), etc. Such thuggery does not promote “competition.” It promotes the ability of competitors to thwart successful competition against themselves, which is why business competitors are usually the ones who go yelping to regulators to try to hobble the guys who are currently winning in the market.

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