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Comment Re:That's all that consumer-oriented businesses do (Score 1) 258

It still is an effective monopoly in the OS on the desktop

What you are saying is just that they have a high market share in a niche market. And it bothers you because the market isn't giving you what you want at the price you want. Well, tough cookies; when 90% of people choose a product you don't like and get the benefit of economies of scale, that's not a monopoly.

The DoJ seems to disagree with you. Seems there was some sort of anti-competitive action on MS's part that forced competitors out of business or something. And no, it wasn't that people chose MS, it was that there was no other choice available due to MS's actions.

The history I am familiar with has Standard Oil being pretty much the only oil refinery company within the US, able to set prices at will.

Even monopolies can't set prices at will, so what you are saying isn't even self-consistent.

Do you have the slightest idea what a monopoly is? They can set prices at will, and extract higher profits than would be possible in a free market. As Standard Oil had stated profits of almost 840M between 1882 and 1906, it seems that they certainly extracted large amounts of profit from a "fading" and "failing business" as you stated earlier. For comparison, the US debt in 1906 was around 1.5 billion, not even double Standard Oil's profit. Now, "set prices at will" has some restrictions, but that's the verbiage used in the definition. You can take any arguments you have with that statement up with those who set the definition of a monopoly.

In any case, you can start by reading the Wikipedia article for some background information, including the monopoly/no-monopoly views, then do more reading, like

https://mises.org/library/100-...

You are not seriously proposing Standard Oil was not a monopoly? Your revisionist side is showing.

Bush came into office in 2001, his policies would take at least a year to have any effect.

We were discussing your claim that liberalized trade leads to job losses, yet throughout 40 years of trade liberalization, the US has gained large numbers of jobs. What happened after 2001 is a red herring.

And I'd say "Free Trade" is an irrelevant and that the technological (computer) revolution that's occurred since about the early 80s has been the major driver of jobs.

Most people use their funds to live off of. Only the top 10% or so do anything else meaningful with it.

We were discussing your claim that trade imbalances are bad. I'm pointing out that foreigners are buying stuff for it, namely shares in US businesses. Your (erroneous) beliefs about which Americans own shares is a red hering.

The discussion is about the American middle class, who's jobs are being shipped out of the country and are having their standard of living lowered. Foreign investment in American businesses only benefits shareholders, and as such is irrelevant to the discussion. It makes that top 1% more wealthy, but doesn't do squat for Joe American, except potentially lower.

The US is prodigiously wealthy primarily because of large oil and other natural resources, and the fact that we didn't get bombed to the stone age in WWII and got to supply lots of exports to Europe, Asia, and Africa in the late 40s and early 50s.

That is true for many other countries that aren't wealthy. What makes the US different is our reliance on (relatively) free markets and free trade. And as the US is getting more regulated and more protectionist, our fortunes are declining.

http://www.heritage.org/index/...

Our fortunes haven't really been declining, who is benefitting has shifted significantly. The over regulation (I'll agree with you on this topic - the regulation coming down is the wrong type of regulation, IMHO, and there's too much of it) is causing some harm. Some regulation is necessary though, we certainly don't want Bejing air in the US, for example.

While some European and Japanese firms have created factories here to build automobiles mostly, what other factories, specifically by China, have been built in the US?

They do it all the time. They do it by investing in US businesses through the stock market, so that the US can do whatever it is doing best with that money. And those investments show up as a "trade deficit".

Investment money in existing businesses only increases the potential paper wealth of those who own said business. Less than 50% of Americans own stock. Foreigners park money in the US because they're worried about their own currency devaluing, no other reason at this point. Growth is not happening in the US.

Comment Re:That's all that consumer-oriented businesses do (Score 1) 258

Microsoft was the de facto desktop operating system from at least 97 through about 2010.

Yes. And notice how it is not anymore? It took care of itself.

Yes, you could buy a mac in there which almost no one did, or if you had particular masochistic streak

In different words, throughout that entire time, Windows was merely dominant, but it wasn't even a monopoly.

It still is an effective monopoly in the OS on the desktop. Look at the pricing changes coming down the pike from MS. What has changed is that they can no longer dictate Office apps, and that's primarily because they sold copies instead of a service. Just think if Win10 SaaS model had been implemented with Office 2003? No one would still be on versions previous to Office 2010, and MS might have been able to nuke at least Android, and possibly the iphone also and we'd all be using WinPhones because documents wouldn't be compatible with anything else.

Standard Oil was broken up by the government

Standard Oil was a supplier of fuel for a few pampered rich people who could afford a car back then, and even there, it wasn't a monopoly, it merely had a large market share in a tiny and (then) unimportant luxury market segment. By 1910, the market was growing, their share was declining. The high Standard Oil market share would have disappeared in a few years without any government intervention at all. Government intervention was politically motivated and pointless.

Citation? The history I am familiar with has Standard Oil being pretty much the only oil refinery company within the US, able to set prices at will. Not only that, it was highly successful, produced the richest man in the world, and allowed for expansion into multiple other lines of business. They by no means were fading, nor disappearing, and you may know of several of the companies today as Mobil, Exxon, Texaco, Chevron, Amoco, US Steel, and others were all part of Standard Oil and were around almost 100 years after the breakup.

It has certainly siphoned jobs out of the US, which it is now admitted it was designed to do [...] gain, are you serious? What job areas has it increased? Truck drivers?

You're equivocating, confusing "moving [some] jobs out of the US" with "reducing the total number of jobs available in the US". In fact, trade liberalization moves low end, low paying jobs out of the US and it increases the total number of jobs available in the US.

And that's exactly what the statistics show: between 1960 and 2002, the US labor participation rate steadily increased, meaning that not only did we get job gains from a growing population, we got job gains on top of that too, and by "job gains", I am referring to jobs filled by American workers. At the same time, the share of untrained labor, assembly line work, and similar jobs decreased in the US. Both are good things.

(Since 2001, labor participation rate has been decreasing, largely due to idiotic economic policies by Bush and Obama)

Bush came into office in 2001, his policies would take at least a year to have any effect. The 2001 turning point was driven first by the dot.com bust, and then 9-11. Bush's policies did not help us get out of that quagmire at all, as instead of economics, he funneled trillions into invading Iraq, a continuing mess.

I generally cannot use things purchased with wealth to purchase things

That's what most reasonable people do: they use money to buy something productive, like a share in a company. That's wealth, not money. And it's also where the so-called "trade imbalance" comes from: it's simply incorrect accounting. Necessarily, people who we buy from get something in return, and it's not generally money.

Most people use their funds to live off of. Only the top 10% or so do anything else meaningful with it. That would be a large chunk of the US and European populations.

Having a factory, on the other hand, can definitely be a wealth generator. And we're shipping quite a few of those overseas.

And we have even more of them here, thanks in part to foreigners that invest in them here. That's why the US is so prodigiously wealthy. And outsourcing drudge labor like iPhone assembly or lawn ornament fabrication to China is good for the US: it makes us better off.

The US is prodigiously wealthy primarily because of large oil and other natural resources, and the fact that we didn't get bombed to the stone age in WWII and got to supply lots of exports to Europe, Asia, and Africa in the late 40s and early 50s. Even so there were problems economically after WWII.

While some European and Japanese firms have created factories here to build automobiles mostly, what other factories, specifically by China, have been built in the US?

Comment Re:That's all that consumer-oriented businesses do (Score 1) 258

Those are the only stable [state sponsored] monopolies that exist, because economic forces by themselves don't support stable monopolies.

I would hold those are no more or less stable than anything else. Once the state removes support, they're gone.

Microsoft and Intel never were dominant OS or CPU suppliers, they just supplied much of the desktop equipment. Even there, they were merely dominant, with alternatives always available. And even that dominance pretty much ended on its own after about a decade.

Are you serious? (My turn)

Microsoft was the de facto desktop operating system from at least 97 through about 2010. Yes, you could buy a mac in there which almost no one did, or if you had particular masochistic streak load one of 50K different Linux distros, which even fewer did. I'd call that a monopoly, as there were no other real choices if you wanted to interact with the world at large. That's almost 15 years of exclusivity, and even today, most would say MS has a lock on the desktop, other than macs. What has changed is their stranglehold on Office documents, which now need to be viewable on several other platforms, as mobile has upturned that lock in. So we're talking 2 decades, and the only real competitor at this point is Apple on the desktop. Linux, however, is always poised to make serious inroads, if it could ever gain enough traction. Maybe Win10 will provide it.

Meanwhile in desktop PCs Intel with their relatively poor x86 architecture has pretty much killed AMD (only kept alive by their graphics cards at this point, IMHO) and has killed off a whole host of others CPUs: MIPS, Alpha, PowerPC, Sparc (barely kicking) and a lot of others. This even goes to servers with IBM now selling Intel mainframes.

Standard Oil is pretty much the same.

Standard Oil was broken up by the government and yet it's various left over parts were all controlled by John D Rockefeller for the rest of his days until his heirs sold off pieces, slowly, over many decades.

None of the examples you give are examples of actual, stable monopolies; they are mostly examples of companies that achieved temporary success in a rapidly expanding market before competitors have had the time to move in.

20 years and still going isn't stable? Name a viable competitor to Intel and Microsoft on the desktop. Standard Oil had viable competitors for roughly 100 years? In the mobile device arena, the marketplace is still roiling, but Apple and Samsung appear to be the 2 that will emerge with the lions share of the market, with Samsung struggling to make a profit.

That is self reported, by people with jobs. [...] I think the people in Syria for one, might disagree.

So, you are seriously taking the position that the world is economically worse off than it was 100 years ago? That free markets and free trade have made life worse for the vast majority of people on this planet? That's the economic equivalent of believing in the flat earth.

I'd say the Industrial and Technological Revolutions have made huge indisputable improvements in life quality. Trade has certainly bettered things and allowed for faster improvements. Free trade? Make your case. It has certainly siphoned jobs out of the US, which it is now admitted it was designed to do. Saying but but but, those are low-wage jobs doesn't help those displaced. Saying they can train for higher quality jobs doesn't make more of those appear. Note that the net employment (percentage of employable people) in the US actually working is at it's lowest level since 1984. You'll note that as we were coming out of the 1987-1994 recession, jobs were returning back to their previous growth path and level. Then, miraculously, as we're growing GDP, we have numerous dips as the employment hits a peak several times before crashing and never recovering from the 2007 recession. BTW, flat earth was a Free Trade proponent's view.

Thanks to numerous studies and facts, I can conclude that free trade has moved jobs out of the country, lowered wages,

It has done that when you look at specific job categories. But that is what free trade is supposed to do. That doesn't mean it's bad for people or the economy.

Again, are you serious? What job areas has it increased? Truck drivers? There wasn't a 1:1 low wage job leaving, high wage job being created. It might have been more like 10 or 20 to 1 (yes, that is unsupported, but the job creation numbers seem to bear that out). It's certainly created lots of jobs in the countries on the other side of the free trade deals. It's been highly advantageous for them, and they have real positive effects. In some cases, China specifically, it has also had major negative effects because they refuse to regulate polluters.

and has had a relatively pronounced and severe negative impact on our trade imbalances as wealth flows out of the country.

Actually, our trade imbalances mean that wealth flows into the country, because "wealth" isn't "money", it's an abundance of resources and material possessions. You keep confusing "wealth" and "money".

I can use wealth to purchase things. I generally cannot use things purchased with wealth to purchase things. Wealth doesn't have to be money, but driving around in luxury cars isn't a sign in and of itself of being wealthy. Nor is having a closet full of throw away things that intrinsically have no value in and of themselves. Having a factory, on the other hand, can definitely be a wealth generator. And we're shipping quite a few of those overseas.

Comment Re:That's all that consumer-oriented businesses do (Score 1) 258

Previous to 1800, the only monopolies were state sponsored, supported, and sometimes enforced monopolies

And that is still the case today. You postulate the existence of mythical stable "free market capitalism based monopolies", but those simply don't exist. ... Large, stable monopolies are the result of, and require, government action.

While I may not have stated it clearly, I don't consider state sponsored monopolies as a valid point. They're propped up by other than economic forces.

Regarding pure free market monopolies: Standard Oil, Microsoft (virtual monopoly), Intel (virtual monopoly), The current ISP situation in the US, which occurred via local government deals, so that one is arguable. For business networks, it's Cisco to a smaller extent (80% or so from the last time I looked). If you step back 1 level where the choice is extremely limited by cabals, there's plenty there. If the government would let them merge, they would be monopolies.

More than 50% of the world's population lives of less than an equivalent $3 US a day. That's not wealthy by anyone's standards.

Well, no, that's not true. Median family incomes is about $9300, and median per capita income is about $2900, worldwide, nearly three times what you claim.

That is self reported, by people with jobs. Is it accurate? Not that the World Bank and others recently changed the poverty measure, reducing the group considered to be in poverty. And there's a considerable number of people without jobs.

"Wealth" is a subjective measure, it can be created, destroyed, and altered just by comparison.

You're playing meaningless semantic games. If you don't understand what the word "wealthier" means in this context, then we can simply put it this way: the world is much better off today than it used to be, across countries and income groups. There is less hunger, less violence, less homelessness, greater literacy, higher life expectancy, etc.

I think the people in Syria for one, might disagree.

A bald assertion

No, not a "bald assertion". The idea that free trade "drains jobs and money" flies in the face of both established economic theory and long term data. The economic theory isn't even hard to understand: if you erect trade barriers, goods get more expensive so the money people have available is worth less. And, in fact, the cost that the trade barrier imposes on Americans is always higher (often a lot higher) than any increased demand in the US. In addition, politically, if the US erects trade barriers against imports, other nations will erect trade barriers against US imports in retaliation, and our export trade will also suffer. Historically, trade barriers have caused everything from recessions and depressions to outright war.

It's still a bald assertion. There have been many documented cases of jobs leaving the country post free trade agreements. So until you provide some facts, you're still making an unsupported assertion that sounds more like a policy plan than anything based in reality. Thanks to numerous studies and facts, I can conclude that free trade has moved jobs out of the country, lowered wages, and has had a relatively pronounced and severe negative impact on our trade imbalances as wealth flows out of the country.

There is also a difference between a trade barrier and shifting costs. If you can't understand that, perhaps that's where the problem lies. Putting a tax on items coming across the border to replace tax funds that were lost when that item was not made domestically reduces the tax burden on those that still produce tax revenue in the country. If a ball is made in country creates $1 of tax revenue, when that ball is imported it generates no tax revenue, then that $1 is redistributed to the remaining tax revenue producing sources.

Comment Re:That's all that consumer-oriented businesses do (Score 1) 258

I don't believe I made that implication at all.

Apparently, you just don't know what you are saying:

When the original capitalism and free markets were thought out, the known monopolies were so small as to be laughable

Nonsense. Read Adam Smith.

Again, I disagree. Smith was a philosopher and economist. A brief skim indicate his papers were theories on the economy, and his impressions of how things worked. Show me what "vast monopolies" and "barriers to entry" that existed prior to 1790 in the US, when he died.

Note that my statements are regarding the latter half of the 1700s.My statements had nothing to do with the question of Smith's relevance today. Previous to 1800, the only monopolies were state sponsored, supported, and sometimes enforced monopolies. IMNSHO, those types of monopolies don't apply. The first free market capitalism based monopolies formed in the mid 1800s. So we've had a pretty small window to study free markets and monopolies, but we've already concluded that unbridled free markets are bad, hence the Sherman Anti-trust Act, among others. Guilds, mentioned previously, really weren't monopolies but more a constriction on the passing and ownership of knowledge. The patent section of the Constitution targeted them in an effort to spur the sciences and benefit the country.

Who says its confusing? It's a fact you cannot predict the future, which most practitioners assert they can.

Most economists are not trying to "predict the future". They are more like physicians, in that they tell you what is likely to produce better outcomes and what is likely to produce worse outcomes. Mainstream economics is pretty clear that free trade and free markets generally provide better outcomes for everybody.

Economics apparently has failed to provide the path to global enrichment everyone says they want.

Are you blind? The world is enormously wealthy by historical standards, and it is largely due to the defeat of central planning and the adoption of free market economics and free trade.

More than 50% of the world's population lives of less than an equivalent $3 US a day. That's not wealthy by anyone's standards. There is a small percentage of the world's population that is wealthy. Unfortunately I don't have the time to dissect that into historical numbers and correlate, but that sure does not seem to be a "wealthy" number. And yes, the "wealth" of the world has increased. "Wealth" is a subjective measure, it can be created, destroyed, and altered just by comparison.

The current free trade policies are a similar process, draining jobs and money out of the US, and it will continue for the foreseeable future. If congress had balls, they'd slap a general tax on all transactions, including at the border, to make up for the lost revenue but that's yet another conversation.

Your degree of economic illiteracy is stunning.

A bald assertion. Surely you can do better to prove your superior grasp of economic literacy? The short story is the US middle class is shrinking, and has been for decades, pretty much in line with the free trade treaty adoptions. We have a net outflow of wealth from this country (view imports vs exports). However, we appear to be creating more wealth, so the net effect may not bleed us dry as it stands today. Wealth is not a fixed value.

Comment Re:That's all that consumer-oriented businesses do (Score 1) 258

You were implying that Adam Smith's writings aren't relevant to today

I don't believe I made that implication at all. Relevant to late 1700s US? Not very much.

So, according to those criteria, quantum mechanics, psychology, neuroscience, and much of modern engineering is also pseudo-science?

psychology - yes. Neuroscience is still arguably in its infancy, and much of modern engineering is applied science. Quantum Mechanics is the one case I'd considered addressing previously, as it is the one obvious hard scientific field that we're still massively struggling to come to grips with.

There is actually much less disagreement about economics than you think. And the fact that people like you find it utterly confusing is no more a sign of a failure of economics than people seeing faces and pyramids on Mars is a sign of a failure of astronomy.

Who says its confusing? It's a fact you cannot predict the future, which most practitioners assert they can. IMNSHO, the best you can do is attempt to see trends, and much like the stock market, you'll be just as accurate. Where is the huge trickle-down economic enrichment? We've seen just the opposite. Where is the communistic ideal? Every communistic society is failing or has failed. Economics apparently has failed to provide the path to global enrichment everyone says they want. Or, looked at another way, everyone has gambled to be the top 1% in those scenarios at the cost of the rest. I'd just make the simple statement that the economic models and theories are universally flawed, as none have proven accurate in real life. Given the scope of the model necessary, I'd say that it will likely be beyond our capacity to model accurately until we no longer need to model it. And I'd still say there's significant disagreement within the field of economics, and that the laissez faire viewpoint would initially enrich a small segment of business owners at the cost of everyone else except the lowest classes in the world (an admittedly huge percentage) as wage and price equilibrium is reached. But this would only happen in a perfect world where every country has the same policy. The current free trade policies are a similar process, draining jobs and money out of the US, and it will continue for the foreseeable future. If congress had balls, they'd slap a general tax on all transactions, including at the border, to make up for the lost revenue but that's yet another conversation.

Comment Re: These companies keep giving us reasons (Score 1) 394

A core that is changeable by an outside entity at that entity's will is not what I'd call stable and certainly not one I control. Currently, that's exactly what all flavors of Win10 have in common. I can't think of a single thing I'd use it for, much like I have no use for XBox games because I don't own an xbox, I'll have no use for Windows software as I won't own a windows box. Being personally MS free for the last 5 years has left me with no desire to dive back into that mess for any reason. Linux, OSX and BSD have served any need I have. Corporations aren't as tied to MS as they may think they are, if they'd just stop to think about it for a few minutes. IBM appears to be wholesale dumping MS. I wonder if it's a coincidence that the announcement came right before the revelations of Win10s forced update mechanism. There's also the Lenovo stupid pet tricks with BIOS etc.

Comment Re:That's all that consumer-oriented businesses do (Score 1) 258

Who isn't aware of the East India Company? That still didn't stop someone from making chairs, saddles, bridles, wheels, carts, tools, clothes, etc, right here in the US, or the colonies as it were at the time. Recall what the topic is - it was the existence of monopolies and barrier to entry in the 1776-1790 time period, in the US. I hold that there was very very little of either at that time for the US. The East India Company was irrelevant to the US at the time, as Britain was in some state of war until the end of 1814. Your statements hold for Europe, but that's not the context in question. Europe's been in a bad state for a far longer period, and was the basis for Smith's criticisms. This was about a form of capitalism that had never been tried before, based on assumptions of a free market which as you correctly point out was highly hampered in Europe.

Economics is still pseudo science at best precisely because (irrational) human behavior is a major component. You can only model it probabilistically. Otherwise we'd have a proven theory, and the current state of disagreement over economic policy and which theory to follow is enough proof of the state of economics today. It's a guess, at best, much like which way the stock market is going to go today. You can't know because you can't know what future events may affect it, unless you have some sort of time lens handy.

Comment Re:That's all that consumer-oriented businesses do (Score 1) 258

The cost of entry into most markets is high not because of capitalism or free markets, it is high because of government interference and regulation.

I would disagree. Take a look at building a chip foundry, automotive assembly line, textile mill, or pretty much any manufacturing process.

When the original capitalism and free markets were thought out, the known monopolies were so small as to be laughable

Nonsense. Read Adam Smith. Not only were there plenty of monopolies and barriers to entry, he recognized that the source of those monopolies and barriers to entry was government. He argued for free markets and against government interference precisely because he wanted to end the vast monopolies and barriers to entry that existed.

Again, I disagree. Smith was a philosopher and economist. A brief skim indicate his papers were theories on the economy, and his impressions of how things worked. Show me what "vast monopolies" and "barriers to entry" that existed prior to 1790 in the US, when he died.

All great discoveries are made by mistake. -- Young

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