Re: Microsoft

Dan Fabulich (
Mon, 27 Apr 1998 22:40:11 -0400


Tony Belding wrote:
>That "socialist fallacy" falls very closely in line with historical fact in
>many industries, particularly those which depend upon huge capital
>investments. Banking, for example.

No sane economist would argue that there are absolutely no natural
monopolies. However, there are also limits as to what a natural monopoly
can do to its customers. For example, if it jacks up the prices too high,
it will become more profitable to compete with it. If the product is
shitty, then competitors have a profit window. Whenever a monopoly tries
to abuse its power, it risks loosening its grasp on its industry. So there
are some limits.

>KG> But, in fact, no coercive monopoly has ever been or ever can be
>KG> established by means of free trade on a free market.

Actually, there's a great body of evidence that (at least at the time of
the study) electricity was a natural monopoly. So, to be fair, the
government took over. <throws his hands in the air>

>And if anyone finds an example -- such as Microsoft -- then we'll ignore it,
>since it does't fit into our theory. Although to be fair, Microsoft's
>monopoly *is* enforced by the power of the US Government, in the form of many
>copyrights and software patents. Just imagine how quickly Microsoft would
>crack down in the courts on any company that produced a MS-Windows compatible

Yes. Imagine how cool Windows would be if it had open source. :)
Copyright is synonymous with government enforced monopoly in an information

>Many people in the industry are not afraid to admit publicly that this
scam is
>taking place. Why should they care if people know? It's not like there's
>other viable platform that people can turn to. Oh, there's Macintosh, I
>guess, but Mr. Gates now has a finger in that pie too.

The problem being that we seem to reap such benefits from copyright, that
it's hard to come to the conclusion that we should ditch the idea
altogether. Not to mention the fact that you've got at least three or four
large and incredibly rich industries which would be levelled if we
eliminated intellectual property: Hollywood, books, software... I think
there's at least one more, but it's not coming to me this instant...

Ah, well. At any rate, Microsoft IS receiving government protection, and
it couldn't exist without it. So at least in this example, the free market
is cleared.

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