Free Market Economics

John K Clark (
Fri, 11 Jul 1997 23:00:41 -0700 (PDT)


"Bobby Whalen" <> On Fri, 11 Jul 1997 Wrote:

>With regards to Rockefellers tactics, your facts of history are

Be specific! I gave a number of facts, which one was wrong?

>Rockefeller did not have to lower his prices everywhere - <only in
>those places he was opening new gas stations>. History shows this
>worked quite well to his advantage.

And this is how Rockefeller made his money??? It sounds like a wonderful
opportunity for anyone, EXCEPT Rockefeller, who has access to a truck to
become very rich. Buy a bunch of widgets where they're dirt cheap and truck
them to where they're sky high.

>They're not out of business because they ARE the business. What
>people feel about Microsoft is largley irrelevant to what choices
>they have when buying a computer. Between the advertising of Intel
>and Microsoft a new computer buyer thinks that if it din't say
>"Intel Inside" it's not a computer.

The only crime Microsoft and Intel have committed is in being successful,
a peculiar sin for a Extropian. Imagine the screaming we would hear if Apple
had won and had "unfairly" crushed Microsoft. Apple would not only be king of
software but of hardware too. For some reason people love to pick on a leader,
when Netscape clearly had the best software everybody dumped on the company,
now that Microsoft has started to catch they get the black hat.

It's true that if you were starting from scratch lots of people could make a
more consistent, more elegant, system than Wintel, but Microsoft and Intel
didn't have that luxury. Everything they made had to be compatible with
everything they made before, this imposes a severe burden, but a burden the
most popular operating system in the world MUST bear. If the Many Worlds
Interpretation is correct, I predict that on nearly all those worlds people
are complaining that the most popular operating system is an ugly mess,
a inelegant hodgepodge of kludges. Such is the fate of things that are not
designed all at once but evolve and grow, things like English with it's weird
spelling, or biological organisms for that matter.

It's in the nature of things that standards are resistant to change, but
that's OK because that is exactly the way a standards should be. The lack
of popularity of the Apple or Next or Bee or whatever operating system is
not an example of market failure because in the context of the real world
they are in fact inferior system. If everything else was equal they would
be better than Wintel but everything else is not equal. These systems have
some small technical advantages but that is countered by enormous practical
disadvantages, they will not operate on the type of computer most people
have and it will not run billions of dollars worth of popular software that
took thousands of man years to write. It's perfectly valid to take such
things into account when deciding what system is really superior. When a
standard is set it's just not worth going to a new one unless you get an
astronomical improvement. The market has decided that the Apple or Next or
Bee is not a huge advance of that type. Maybe the market is wrong but I know
it has a better understanding of such things than a bunch of hack politicians.

John K Clark

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