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View Full Version : If Government Ordered Your Lunch, Would You Get What You Want?



Chris
03-24-2012, 03:53 PM
Economics looks at government. Three attributes required for good government are considered, is it beneficent, omniscient, and omnipotent.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=3E5KhIGm7f0

Conley
03-24-2012, 04:46 PM
Right, those angel politicians dont exist.

If the government were in charge of our lunches what would it be like? You don't need to look any further than the money taken from the meat lobby and the addition of pink slime to student lunches.

Peter1469
03-24-2012, 07:13 PM
If a massive multinational corporation ordered our lunch, what would it look like.

Chris
03-24-2012, 07:22 PM
What each of us subjectively valued for lunch. It wouldn't have gotten so big if it didn't provide goods and services we wanted to purchase. Which, think of it, is unlikely, as no one can provide everything everyone wants, so people would purchase what they wanted from competitors.

Mister D
03-24-2012, 07:51 PM
If a massive multinational corporation ordered our lunch, what would it look like.

Not sure what it would look like but our lunches would all look the same.

Conley
03-24-2012, 08:06 PM
If a massive multinational corporation ordered our lunch, what would it look like.

Hmm, that doesn't sound so good either. How about we go with option c) local farmers?

Chris
03-24-2012, 08:33 PM
Not sure what it would look like but our lunches would all look the same.

How's that possible?

I'm assuming no government and thus no crony capitalism.

As such how would a corporation have any power?

Conley
03-24-2012, 08:33 PM
How's that possible?

I'm assuming no government and thus no crony capitalism.

As such how would a corporation have any power?

Once a corporation gets large enough to crush all of its competition it becomes a problem. Even without government interference once they are large enough they can simply purchase all their competitors.

Chris
03-25-2012, 09:31 AM
Once a corporation gets large enough to crush all of its competition it becomes a problem. Even without government interference once they are large enough they can simply purchase all their competitors.

How would it do that? By economic means, since you've dismissed political means.

Peter1469
03-25-2012, 10:49 AM
How's that possible?

I'm assuming no government and thus no crony capitalism.

As such how would a corporation have any power?

Corporations do not rely on government for power. They only co-opt government to gain power. They could as easily co-opt fictional libertarians in a fictional state-less state.

Chris
03-25-2012, 12:11 PM
"Corporations do not rely on government for power. They only co-opt government to gain power."

Thus they rely on government.

Peter1469
03-25-2012, 12:23 PM
"Corporations do not rely on government for power. They only co-opt government to gain power."

Thus they rely on government.

Corporations create power and use whatever tools are available.

Chris
03-25-2012, 12:51 PM
Corporations create power and use whatever tools are available.

Only, as you stated, if they can co-opt that power from government, and do so through political means.

The question remains, how would they attain that power through economic means.


“I propose in the following discussion to call one’s own labor, and the equivalent exchange of one’s own labor for the labor of others, the ‘economic means’ for the satisfaction of needs, while the unrequited appropriation of the labor of others will be called the ‘political means’.”
- Franz Oppenheimer, The State.

Conley
03-25-2012, 01:17 PM
How would it do that? By economic means, since you've dismissed political means.

By buying up competitors, stealing their ideas, running them into the ground via legal expense. You know, all the stuff Microsoft did. :wink: If there is no government to deny a monopoly, then what's stopping this megacorp from doing that?

Chris
03-25-2012, 01:32 PM
M$ has done what every company has done in that respect. When some of those companies couldn't complete they used political means to sue M$ as a monopoly on grounds it gave away goods and services.

Conley
03-25-2012, 01:35 PM
I shouldn't have brought up Microsoft. In the absence of government, this hypothetical megacorp you're describing could easily attain the power to eliminate competition entirely through economic means.

Chris
03-25-2012, 02:52 PM
Sorry, but they could not. The only economic power anyone has is to provide goods and services consumers want. Monopolies are created by political means.

Conley
03-25-2012, 03:01 PM
Sorry, but they could not. The only economic power anyone has is to provide goods and services consumers want. Monopolies are created by political means.

That seems like quite a blanket statement. What is to prevent a company from buying up their competitors?

Peter1469
03-25-2012, 04:49 PM
Nothing.

Peter1469
03-25-2012, 04:50 PM
Except anti-trust laws created by governments.

Chris
03-25-2012, 05:42 PM
Except anti-trust laws created by governments.
You mean the antitrust laws created to break up government-created monopolies?

Let's look at a specific example: http://reason.com/archives/2012/03/23/socialism-wont-fix-californias-strugglin] ( [url): "Socialism Won’t Fix California’s Struggling Public Utilities[/url] : "Faced with rising water rates, some politicians and community activists in Southern California are revisiting a fundamental question that most of us thought had been answered by the collapse of the Soviet Union: Is government the most efficient way to provide services?"

Conley
03-25-2012, 06:38 PM
That seems like quite a blanket statement. What is to prevent a company from buying up their competitors?

Forgive me for quoting myself, but Chris please explain why you do not believe this to be possible.

Peter1469
03-25-2012, 07:18 PM
You mean the antitrust laws created to break up government-created monopolies?

Let's look at a specific example: http://reason.com/archives/2012/03/23/socialism-wont-fix-californias-strugglin] (http://[url): "Socialism Won’t Fix California’s Struggling Public Utilities[/url] : "Faced with rising water rates, some politicians and community activists in Southern California are revisiting a fundamental question that most of us thought had been answered by the collapse of the Soviet Union: Is government the most efficient way to provide services?"

It is not a valid comparison-- US use of anti-trust laws don't relate to Soviet use of central authority.

So how did the last libertarian group of people handle multi-national corporations? What year was that. How big was the group of libertarians.

Chris
03-25-2012, 08:14 PM
It is not a valid comparison-- US use of anti-trust laws don't relate to Soviet use of central authority.

So how did the last libertarian group of people handle multi-national corporations? What year was that. How big was the group of libertarians.

Soviets? Example was California.

Libertarians? What's that to do with topic?

Multi-national corporations? Economy is global, been so since the dawn of trade.

What multi-national has ordered your lunch so to speak?

Chris
03-25-2012, 08:18 PM
Forgive me for quoting myself, but Chris please explain why you do not believe this to be possible.

Nothing. But would they be able to do so if their competitors were competitive? M$ buys out small companies who've come up with new ideas and put themselves on the market. But so do Sun Microsystems and Apple. GMC bought Buick, Chrysler Jeep, yet there's still Ford and other multinationals.


Sorry if I missed that earlier.

Conley
03-25-2012, 09:00 PM
Thanks Chris.

Certainly if the companies are well established then buying them out makes it more difficult. However look at U.S. cell phone carriers...ATT tried to buy TMobile but was blocked by the government. If it weren't for the government ATT would be the only telephone provider and cellular carrier that existed. It's not as if someone can just start a new cell carrier and compete - it takes a wealth of resources to withstand a competitor like that. If the company gained any footing, well then they'd just be an attractive buyout target (assuming they had to go public to raise enough capital). Even if it were a private company, it could likely be bought. Most things have a price. So I don't have any problem envisioning a scenario where a corporation can become a monopoly without using political means.

MMC
03-25-2012, 09:08 PM
Bet those guys who are locked up can tell ya if the government would get you what you wanted for lunch. Now a last meal I hears it is whatever you want it to be.

Chris
03-26-2012, 05:51 AM
Thanks Chris.

Certainly if the companies are well established then buying them out makes it more difficult. However look at U.S. cell phone carriers...ATT tried to buy TMobile but was blocked by the government. If it weren't for the government ATT would be the only telephone provider and cellular carrier that existed. It's not as if someone can just start a new cell carrier and compete - it takes a wealth of resources to withstand a competitor like that. If the company gained any footing, well then they'd just be an attractive buyout target (assuming they had to go public to raise enough capital). Even if it were a private company, it could likely be bought. Most things have a price. So I don't have any problem envisioning a scenario where a corporation can become a monopoly without using political means.

Not sure I understand. Even if ATT bought ought TMobile there's still Verizon, Sprint and others. At one time those fears were raised about Standard Oil, now you hardly hear of them.

Conley
03-26-2012, 08:02 AM
Not sure I understand. Even if ATT bought ought TMobile there's still Verizon, Sprint and others. At one time those fears were raised about Standard Oil, now you hardly hear of them.

Right, you don't hear of them because of anti-trust laws. There is nothing from a purely economical perspective that would prevent it.

Chris
03-26-2012, 08:17 AM
Competition would. Let's say some sort of monopoly were possible, say M$ bought out Apple and Sun failed, so M$ was the only player, and they decided to raise prices. Other players would naturally emerge to undercut them. Right now you've got for example Google with new Google-OS-based computers and Android-based cell phones and tablets. And there are others like them. M$ is scrambling to catch up with Windows 8. And there's the whole "underground" market for Linus and Apache and MySQL and other free software. And, as you say there is the legitimate function of government to break up such monopolies, even though government has a history of creating them--as in the CA water issue I posted.

Peter1469
03-26-2012, 09:37 AM
That is a good example for software- something with very low cost to produce and distribute.

Give us another example of a local cable provider. Their start up costs are very high and society really doesn't want a dozen different companies littering the landscape with their infrastructure.

Chris
03-26-2012, 09:57 AM
That is a good example for software- something with very low cost to produce and distribute.

Give us another example of a local cable provider. Their start up costs are very high and society really doesn't want a dozen different companies littering the landscape with their infrastructure.
Not sure about you but I can go with TimeWarner, AT&T or Direct TV for Internet access, television--TW also provides digital phone. And with Verizon I can set up my phone as wireless router.

Peter1469
03-26-2012, 10:47 AM
I have access to Cox or Verizon, or satellite.

Let's try another example. How many companies can you choose from for your electricity and or gas?

Chris
03-26-2012, 05:35 PM
Good examples of government-created monopolies.

Here's another: Obamacare Can't Be Served La Carte (http://spectator.org/archives/2012/03/26/obamacare-cant-be-served-la-ca).

So, again, if government ordered your lunch, would you get what you want?

Peter1469
03-26-2012, 06:03 PM
Probably no more than if a mega corporation ordered my lunch.

Chris
03-26-2012, 08:26 PM
If one existed without access to political means.

Peter1469
03-26-2012, 08:28 PM
In a fantasy libertarian society, a corporation could become a mega corp using the very same means that it does so under a government.

Because we are dealing with the same people.

Peter1469
03-26-2012, 08:30 PM
Maybe if one day in a future far far away a libertarian society actually is created we can test these two theorys.