L. Bird pkeets at
Sat Jul 24 02:13:05 CDT 2004

>The immediate flaw in that allegation is that Wal-mart is nationally
known for its low prices, and has built a huge and loyal customer
base by delivering on that reputation. <snip> Conversely, if Wal-mart
lowers its prices too much it will actually lose money.

Because Walmart is such a huge corporation, it can afford to lose money for 
a while to undercut other stores.  I know someone who works at Walmart and 
she tells me they've had staff meetings where they discussed strategies on 
how to run competitors out of business.  This is fairly well recognized.  
There have been some communities that refused Walmart building permits for 
this reason.

>Microsoft was busted by competitors who
were using immoral anti-trust laws to gain market share that they
couldn't gain by selling their own products.


>There is no problem in a Capitalist economy with the government awarding 
>monopoly status,

>Taking what you say at face value, there certainly IS a problem with
this in an economic system which respects individual rights, because
a monopoly can only be granted by making it ILLEGAL to compete, a la
the Post Office.

Governments used to do this under 1600s lassiez faire capitalism a.k.a 
Colonialism.  The U.S. was opened up by trading companies who owned monopoly 
rights.  This is what you want to go back to, right?

>And just to avoid having to write it out every time, I'm using
"capitalism" to denote a system in which the rights to life, liberty,
and property are preserved.

Are you an Objectivist, Alan?  I've sort of wondered before.

>With the caveat that "free competition" means the right to compete, not the 
>non-existent "right" to succeed.

But you're expecting a level playing field. What if competition is 
restricted by cartels or by sole source contracts like the government 
recently awarded to Halliburton?  Do you think you could start a new 
business and compete against Halliburton?

>>Free Market Economy.  Under Capitalism, the rich get richer and the poor 
>poorer because the owners of capital are not required to share.  It is to
>their benefit to have a large number of the poor seeking work.

>That's a common knock against Free Market Economy, too.  I'm
surprised you didn't mention it.  But in any case, it's not
true..."owners of capital" have to "share" their capital every time
they write a paycheck.

That's not capital.  That's wages.  Do you support the Reaganomics trickle 
down plan?  Feeding huge amounts of money to the already rich hasn't 
improved the position of the average worker very much.

>In this society, everyone but some rare pathological outliers have capital 
>to some degree or other in the form of money, knowledge, physical skills, 
>etc..  It's a real red herring to try to oppose "owners of capital" against 
>"the poor" when "the poor" have capital as well.

Hmmm.  What capital do the poor have?  If they don't make enough in wages to 
cover basic expenses, where are they going to get the extra money to serve 
as investment capital?  If they have poor education and skills, how are they 
to command a higher wage?

>>This is a Free Market Economy you're describing.  Under Capitalism, the 
>owners of capital make private deals with their buddies in the government
>for a bigger share of pork contracts.

>Again the inevitable but incorrect pairing of "rich" with "owners of
capital".  And once again, let me make it clear that back-room deals
between government and businesses are NOT what I'm defending, nor are
they part of (laissez-faire) capitalism.

I think you're idealizing laissez-faire capitalism.  There is no purely 
competitive system.  The guy who goes for the backroom deal is going to win.

>>I don't know anything about Armentano, but Rand is an Objectivist (reason,
>individualism, freedom, and achievement)

>Exactly so.  Which of these do you oppose?

None, but I'm also in favor of democracy.

>She was a philosopher, and in so being identified basic principles on
which Economics operates, whether they are recognized or not.  For
example, the principle that government should exist to guard
individual rights, and when it acts to violate them in an economic
system, the result is a weaker economy...which means the result is
decreased human well-being.

But who is defining the rights?

>Read it.  It's rife with references to non-existent rights, such as
human rights, environmental rights, corporate rights, profit-making
rights, rights to clean water, social rights, political rights, ad

What if you found you've been using city water polluted by dioxin?  Any 
problems with this?  How would you handle toxic waste under lassiez-faire 

>I do share McQuaig's dislike of the World Bank and the IMF, at a free-market economy, government would be stripped of the
ability to control the money supply and we would be on an honest
monetary standard, probably gold.

Hmmm.  I thought you were in favor of free markets.  You don't include the 
currency market in this?  How would you handle international exchange rates?


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