Thursday, April 6, 2017

Welcome Back, My Friends the show that never ends.

The Nation:

The University of Chicago Stigler Center’s three-day conference asked: “Does America Have a Concentration Problem?” A sufficient response to this could be “go outside.” Virtually every major sector in our economy has been whittled down to a few major players. Two companies produce nearly all of America’s toothpaste. One, Luxottica, produces nearly all the sunglasses. There are four cable and Internet providers, who have divvied up the country and rarely compete. There are four major airlines. There are four major commercial banks. There are four major Internet platforms—Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Google—controlling your information flow, your data, and your virtual life.

These markets are shrinking further, thanks to a continuing wave of mergers. Bayer is buying Monsanto to control a significant section of the agricultural seed market. AT&T and Time Warner’s combination would tie a content distributor to a content provider. The Walgreens–Rite Aid deal would narrow major chain pharmacies down to two (three if you’re generous and include Walmart). Platform monopolies like Google are buying a firm a week; it’s become a large part of their research-and-development strategy to acquire ideas and market share simultaneously.

And the slide backwards to the 18th century continues.

BTW: Try not to think too hard about the striking similarities between what's happening here right now and what started to happen a few years after the USSR fell apart - in about 1991-92, when Poppy Bush sent his old pal Bob Strauss to teach the Russkies how to retool their economy according to Freddy and Milty's Unfettered Free Market Capitalism.

This mess didn't get all fucked up yesterday and it won't get unfucked by tomorrow.

hat tip = J Gorman

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