The Market

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Must reads

[1] and [2]

  • Oligopoly Watch Blog is a fascinating exploration and record of how oligopolies behave, particularly how they try to control their competitive landscape.
  • An interview with Vandana Shiva, Indian physicist, organic farmer and author. Discussing the Earth Democracy movement, Shiva links the problems currently seen in democracy with the effects of globalization—money and power, absolutely linked, are no longer in the hands of people or their local governments.

Please research

  • Politics and the free market are intertwined. Research should be performed to determine how the free market is corrupted by the most powerful entities within it. Either through influencing the government or by using their wealth and power to prevent competition and/or maximize profits at the expense of the consumer/tax payer.
  • Research should be performed to determine if punishments enacted upon corporations are just. Whenever a government entity imposes a fine on a corporation that corporation will pass the costs on to their customers. So in effect, fining misbehaving businesses is really a proxy fine levied upon tax payers. In a market where there exists loads of competition a fine may be an effective measure but it is unlikely. More research needs to be done in this area to determine what would benefit the public the most when businesses break the law or act against the public interest.
  • Regarding "denialism:" going beyond money, it's worth researching corruption of rhetoric and argumentation. That is, the money itself corrupts, but it also creates a welcoming environment for bogus arguments; a willingness to accept fallacious arguments in support of monied interests, if you will. It would be interesting to evaluate the economics arguments employed in political situations, because the public dialogue is filled with simplistic, econ 101 ideas. I think these ideas flourish only because they are in support of major financial interests.

Corruption in Action

  • The incestuous relationship between real estate developers and local government officials is certainly an example of corruption. No specific work to cite, but Kelo v. New London is obviously a good example of the interests of ordinary citizens being shoved aside for the interests of large corporations.
  • 2008-03-04 User:Woozle/soft drink hard sell: A Pepsico distributor uses monetary incentive to keep out smaller competition (non-governmental Lessigian corruption), depriving customers of their rightful Dr. Pepper; Woozle proposes a meta-solution.
  • 2008-03-01 My Forbidden Fruits (and Vegetables): how legislation is designed to keep the local food movement from catching on. "Why? Because national fruit and vegetable growers based in California, Florida and Texas fear competition from regional producers like myself. Through their control of Congressional delegations from those states, they have been able to virtually monopolize the country’s fresh produce markets."