Polemics & Exchanges

On Monopolies

I found myself in complete agreement with Donald W. Livingston’s (and thus Thomas Naylor’s) arguments for downsizing the U.S.A. (“A ‘Containment Policy’ for the New Cold War,” Vital Signs, May).  The very next article, however, left me bewildered (“What’s Good for General Motors . . . ,” Vital Signs).  It was hard to believe that it appeared in the same publication.  David Hartman, outraged at the monopolists in our midst, has a solution: Let the government’s crusading antitrust boys take care of those greedy capitalists!  Yes, the very same government that, for over 200 years, has enforced that bureaucratic, bloated, inefficient, and corrupt supermonopoly, the Post Office.  I invite Mr. Hartman to conduct an experiment by setting up two businesses: a software company to produce a computer operating system and a mail company to distribute first-class letters.

If he succeeds in the former, he will be rewarded by the public with nice profits.  True, he will have to compete against Microsoft, but it’s not an impossible mission, as a few other operating systems have demonstrated.  They don’t have the enormous sales that Microsoft has, but they are there and available for anyone who wants them.  For all of his power, Bill Gates can’t get them off...

Join now to access the full article and gain access to other exclusive features.

Get Started

Already a member? Sign in here