Re[2]: Free-Market Economics

Guru George (
Fri, 11 Jul 1997 21:23:31 +0100

On Thu, 10 Jul 1997 17:08:50 PDT
"Bobby Whalen" <> wrote:

>Guru George writes:
>>"Bobby Whalen" <> wrote:
>>>But is a market free, if a company becomes so powerful
>>>that it establishes a near-monopoly on a given market and in turn
>>>prevents competition and progress form occurring? A good example now I
>>>believe is Microsoft.
>>You must be joking! Isn't one of the great whinges of our time how
>>terribly difficult it is to cope with progress and competition in
>>computers? Continuous upgrading seems to be the norm.
>I think the progress on the hardware side has been great. However, if
>there wasn't continuous upgrading then Microsoft and Intel (Wintel)
>would go out of business. Microsoft comes out with a new, more bloated
>version of their software, and Intel in turn has to come out with a new
>and faster chip for it to run on.

Aren't you contradicting yourself here? In fact, advances in software
possibilities drive advances in hardware, and advances in hardware drive
advances in software. Both ways, it's a good thing on the whole.

>Have you ever noticed that it takes
>Windows 95 longer to load on a Pentium than Win 3.1 on a early version
>of the 486? If you consider Windows 95 progress then you haven't really
>fathomed the potential software that could really be done on these
>supercomputer chips we now posses.

I''ve got no more than an ordinary end-users smattering of knowledge of
computers, but it seems to me that despite its faults, Win95 is a
definite advance on Win 3.1 in terms of ease of use, speed of running
programs, and multitasking capability. I *have* spent the occasional
day or two tearing my hair out over some problem, but then I expected
that when I got a computer, because the need for backwards-compatibility
and the many different manufacturers of ever snazzier hardware and
software having slightly different standards means that there will *
always* be problems. In fact come to think of it, most of the
complaints of the kind you make seem to forget that a lot of the reason
for Win95's 'bloatedness' is caused by these things, plus the requirement
that the PC ought to be operatable by even relatively stupid people.
This last requirement is never quite fulfillable, of course, precisely
because it requires a bloated, complex program that is prone to the
occasional problem! :-)

>Microsoft and Intel are in bed
>together to insure future business and market share. If you have not
>noticed this, then you must be kidding!

I'm sure they are. And if they keep on making stuff people are prepared
to buy, they will ensure future business and market share. So what?
The fact also remains that if they don't they won't.

>>The only way corporations can possibly coerce is by means of
>>government. When people say 'corporate coercion' in the usual sense, it's just
>>another whine.
>I definitly have to disagree here. Lets me diverge for a moment. I
>consider myself an anarchist. A "true" anarchy is where individuals can
>do anything they want as long as it dosen't interfere with anothers
>freedom. If an individual or group of individuals grabs a bunch of arms
>and starts terrorizing the rest of the people in this "anarchy" into
>submission, then we no longer have "anarchy" but a new form of
>authoritarianism.. Now back to corporations...
>It's corporations that are increasingly requiring piss tests to get a
>job. Imagine if you had to take a random piss test from the government
>just to stay in "good citizen" status and not be thrown in jail! Please
>don't misunderstand me, I'm not defending government in any way. What I
>am saying however, is that a corpocracy is not a free-market.

A piss test for taking a job is the employer's privilege. That is
completely different from govt., because the govt. in no way *owns* the

>A good
>example was in the early part of this century when Rockefeller would
>open up a new gas stations next to small independent operators. When
>one of his stations first opened they would charge less then wholsale
>prices until the other guy COULD NO LONGER COMPETE and go out of
>business. As soon as the small-time operator went out of business,
>Rockefeller would raise the price of gas higher than the small-time guy
>was originally operating at. If you consider this practice fair-game in
>a Free-Market economy, then I will have to take serious odds with the
>whole concept of a "Free-Market" as you are presenting it.

This is not an example of *coercion* as I think of it, except in a *very
* loose sense of the word. It is a dirty practice, and it ought to
be*morally* condemned, but since it doesn't involve force or the threat
of force it does not require the use of force to correct.

Also, the bigger operator is still losing money if s/he undercuts; the
bigger s/he is the more money they lose, so in the *long run*, such
monopolies are unsustainable. I'm sure Michael or Daniel or Eric would
be able to explain this better than I.

Sorry, nothing you have said persuades me that a free market would
prevent competition from occurring.

Guru George