Re: what if microsoft disobeyed the breakup?

From: phil osborn (
Date: Sun Jun 18 2000 - 23:34:14 MDT

>From: "zeb haradon" <>
>Subject: Re: what if microsoft disobeyed the breakup?
>Date: Sun, 18 Jun 2000 00:54:05 GMT
>I notice that this debate has been framed in a way that concentrates on
>whether or not windows is a good OS, and whether or not free-market
>economics is the best system for introducing the best products to the
>greatest number of people, for the best price.
>So at what point would my freedom to produce and sell a product be a
>secondary consideration to the effect on society that it has?
This is how OTHER PEOPLE have tried to frame the debate. The fact is that
Windows is a really lousy product in comparison to other products out there,
but that should really be a separate issue... except that some of the ways
that MS has managed to capture its market has been through criminal behavior
- e.g., it's attempted stealing of Stacker for DOS 6.0 - or, I suspect, its
relationship to the state itself. MS is a corporation, a legal child of the
state, that sells bigtime to state entities. In fact, here in Orange
County, the public schools were forbidden to buy any computer equipment that
wasn't either Apple or MS compatible, to give just one little example, that
I am sure is repeated a zillion times.

So to cast this - an attack on MS - as an attack on the free market is very

As for the free market - PEOPLE create products. Even the NAZIs were able,
by investing heavilly in scientists, to come up with all sorts of cool
products - although they used them in often despicable ways. The Soviets
produced quite a few advanced products, especially in areas that depended on
long term scientific research, such as advanced metallurgy.

We have never had a real free economy. If it actually took a totally free
economy to produce anything, we'd be dead - or never born.

"to the greatest number of people, for the best price." ???

I really don't know how to frame this to really encapulate an answer.
Suppose we had a totally free economy in which everyone happened to be
complete mystical religious idiots, who thought that technology was from the
devil? Would that free market produce much of anything worthwhile? Suppose
evil NAZI's appeared and enslaved them. Wouldn't you expect a general
improvement in technology to result?

I like anarcho-capitalism for a whole lot of reasons, one of which is that
it is the lack of real freedom, and the stupid costs of the state which may
end up killing me right on the verge of the singularity. What a disaster!
Overall, most of the time, free markets are better at producing good
products at good prices. But this is not really what most of the argument
has been about. It's what various people have tried to push or define the
argument into being.

Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:13:45 MDT