Monday, November 19, 2007

The trouble with Libertarians

By Libby

I consider myself to be libertarianish, but I could never fully embrace the whole Libertarian ideology because of their blind faith in the 'free market.' Ezra nails the problem in a must read post, including the link to John Rogers' post, who says:

Six. Six companies control almost all mass media in America. They control all, and I mean all, the standard distribution channels in America. They are also negotiating as a single entity, the AMPTP. ...
Ezra elaborates.

One of the real problems with the simplified neoclassical framework some of my libertarian pals use is that rational economic actors do not long abide the state of perfect competition. ...

In the perfect neoclassical model, what you'd have here would be six, or 40, or 200, media companies competing among each other and snapping up the best writers by offering the best deals, which would include online residuals. What you have, instead, is the whole industry acting essentially like a monopoly and laying down a blanket refusal to offer online residuals. So don't talk to me of your free markets. As is so often the case, this is superficially a question of economics, but it's actually a question of power.

They're talking about Hollywood but this could be said for any major industry in America today. You have your idyllic 'free market' and then there's the real world, dominated by a handful of corporate behemoths who rig the game so nobody else can compete, much less win. [h/t Jcricket]

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