monopolies and games [Re:]

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From: Dave Long (
Date: Mon Jun 12 2000 - 10:36:01 PDT

> Could be. Or it could be that it's difficult to hoard more than your share
> when there's already one monoplist doing precisely that.

I find Chesterson uneven, but he does have his periods:
"Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists,
but too few capitalists."

> ... Anti-trust rules to keep the
> game running; to stop 'thermal runaway' in the capitalist sense.

It is strange: one doesn't tend to see a sports team arguing
with the umpire that allowing a penalty after a foul call,
an obvious offsides, say, would make them "less efficient".

Sportsmanship must not be up on the list of B-school virtues.

> ... The job of companies is to try to make markets unfree, by carving
> out little patches of monopoly or oligopoly, via legal monoploies like
> patents and copyrights, geographical ones, others like intimate relationships
> with supliers or customers, etc etc. The role of new competition is to attack
> those monopolies and substitute their own. ...

Aristotle comments on Thales in the first book of his Politics,
and tells the story of how, after being reproached for poverty
as a sign of the uselessness of philosophy, he got a corner on
the local olive-presses and made a great deal of money. Instead
of agreeing that this action was a striking proof of his wisdom,
Aristotle argues that it merely demonstrated the effectiveness
of creating monopolies. (Where is the line between wisdom and
gambling? It would be interesting to know at what price olive
futures were being quoted during the winter when Thales bought
up the presses.)

I find it odd that many projected substitutions of monopolies seem
to involve the replacement of margins from two-party relationships
(geography, relationships, etc.) by margins from external ones
(patents and copyrights). Is this because patent office examiners
appear less sceptical than customers?


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