Antitrust and Centralized Control
Antitrust legislation permits the government to bring charges against any business pricing higher, lower, or equal to their competition. Are eyebrows appropriately raised? Pricing higher is considered gouging. Pricing lower is considered dumping. Pricing the same is considered collusion. As all business activity falls into one of these categories, there is no innocence to declare other than sanity, and the surest protection for a business is simply never to be successful. The most recent case that hit home for me was the antitrust suit against Microsoft. It is embarrassing that a man as capable as Bill Gates has to sit there and listen to “Experts” (men with dismal track records by comparison) theorize about how his business could be run—and they expect him to risk his own money on their viewpoint? It was pointless anyway: with the speed of technology, Washington didn’t prove as effective a monopolistic deterrent as the open source programming of Linux.
How many class action suits resulting in fifty-seven cents per customer across the nation (if they care to fill out the paperwork and waste a stamp) are going to be fought before officials realize antitrust has mutated into a parasitical business tax benefiting only law firms? They restrain trade themselves and at their worst, commit the moral horror of jailing executives for nothing more than providing the public with products they want in a voluntary market. I bought a pair of shoes once and started receiving legal documents stating the progress and terms of an antitrust suit against their maker. The law firm made millions off the case, making it well worth their while, but I don’t think my human rights were violated in paying slightly more for a pair of shoes.
Morally, this legislation has strayed. Rather than protecting consumers from different forms of hegemony, it offers the legal profession a steady means of graft and fails to address the true social impacts of corporate malfeasance upon the nation. As executives of large companies move easily between private and public positions, perhaps a more direct link should be established between antitrust legislation and the American Bill of Rights, to specifically monitor any organization’s encroachment upon our civil liberties. No fields suffer such glaring encroachments today as banking, healthcare, farming, and media. Our fundamental rights have been stripped by the weight of new laws driven by fear, indicating the need for a “Citizens First” legal guideline to counter this threat.
“Economies of scale” lower costs and make more and better products available for all, but this concept deserves great and careful scrutiny when brought into the realm of government and monopolies. Cultivation and refinement are often the moral inverse of consolidation and control. Governments are instituted among men to avoid consolidated power, which always turns corrupt by the Fear-driven in pursuit of irrational self-preservation and a false image.