by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Gene Epstein reviews for Barron’s a “lively defense of free markets” by John Tamny, editor of RealClearMarkets. It’s titled Popular Economics: What the Rolling Stones, Downton Abbey, and LeBron James Can Teach You About Economics. Epstein labels Tamny’s work both entertaining and instructive.
… [I]t generally gets things right, even when it goes to extremes.
Take the author’s drastic, but ultimately valid argument that all antitrust laws should be abolished. Antitrust is based on the belief that government must curb the market’s alleged habit of creating monopolies that suppress competition. But as the author points out, today’s monopoly is often tomorrow’s bankrupt firm, a pattern indicating that no company ever has a real lock on an industry, even though the competitors may as yet be unknown. “Blockbuster,” he observes, “never imagined that Netflix…would bring about its demise.” Even when a monopoly does hang on, it generally does so because the monopolist is doing things right, either by charging low prices, maintaining high quality, or both.