Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Competition Is Good

Kevin Drum has a piece today gathering together three separate stories about the problems caused by only two or three giant companies in various industries. The stories cover the meat-packing industry, the beer industry, and the publishing industry.

They all tell the same essential story: when an industry gets extremely consolidated. Consumers, other businesses, and the economy all suffer. Most of this consolidation began in the Reagan administration, but Democrats and Republican alike have allowed it continue. This is the problem with a political process that favors the powerful.

If Republicans would like to do something useful with all the hand-wringing about the election, they could adopt an actual "pro-competition" position. If Democrats want to beat them to the punch, that would be fine too. Government has two roles in the market system that are critical. One is ensuring competition. The other is protecting consumers and workers. Our government does a poor job of both.

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