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RationalEgoistSG

Monopolies and Antitrust

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Hmmmm. After re-reading the whole thread a few things are clearer but there are still a few conflicting points – well, one major – that I’d like to clear up.

RationalEgoist, it seems that the people you were debating with had the same reservations as I do - did – but I think that this stems from the fact that they base their thinking on the existing system whereas Objectivist thinking always builds from the ground up – from the individual who knows A as A. Perhaps, to make your argument more effective, you would have had to elaborate on that before you progressed to the argument itself – a line of reasoning that they would perhaps at first consider ‘off-topic’. Anyhow, a few things said here became clear when I set aside my reservations about the existing system and went back to think forward from zero.

After taking a step back to look through neutral eyes, I see my attempt to apply logic to my emotionally motivated reservations with today’s system. Obviously the ‘big baddie’ in my mind is Microsoft – my knowledge of programming and its history makes this even more so – and I am rather dismayed at their success. But then I answered my own unclear doubts with my last post – no matter what the quality of their product and how much they charge for it, it’s ‘fair play’ as long as someone buys it. So, a change from my former ideas, instead of trying to limit or punish M$ (and I never did see any logical grounds or means to do that) we should work to make a better product and, by making consumers aware of it, giving them a second point of comparison so that they can judge the difference in quality for themselves. This is how it should be, this is quite clear to me now.

Now to what’s still unclear to me. This may begin in a seemingly off-topic way but please bear with me. I, of a rather middle-class ‘normal’ upbringing, had spent most of my teenage years wrestling with the illogical ideals passed on to me before (also with the help of Rand) I was able to discard them to think for myself. Thus I had to spend a precious time ‘un-educating myself before I could decide for myself what I wanted from life.

I consider my first education as indoctrination. I chose a career that is fairly independent from the system, therefore able to distance myself from it and take the time to grow away from it. But, as far as the general population is concerned, not everyone has the freedom to choose and time to decide that I do. MS owes its success to the fact that it was the first to educate people into using its product, people who, because MS was the first used by all it had become a ‘standard,’ hadn’t enough time and money to change their practices, thus were forced with every upgrade into buying the same product. Without these circumstances, MS wouldn’t for sure have a quasi-monopoly today. Is this ‘indoctrination’ what they’re calling ‘anti-trust’?

As things go things are taking a gradual but natural course; other companies are making their formats compatible with MS (though MS is working to its damnedest in the opposite direction) to simplify and reduce the cost of an eventual ‘consumer-aware’ switchover – but could this inequality have been avoided? I personally don’t see any way it could have, but I ask this because, y_feldblum, you said that a Capitalist business is ‘regulated’:

What do you think an example of an 'un-capitalistic' business is?

One that is unregulated.

Now in the Objectivist sense, and seemingly by the Capitalistic one, it would be for me myself to regulate my own practices in provision for the demand others have for my product. Therefore I would be free to adopt any marketing ‘tactic’ I want to or to exploit any market ‘weakness’ that I can see. Is the regulation you mention about controlling this, and if so, what form should this ‘regulation’ have, and on what level?

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y_feldblum, you said that a Capitalist business is ‘regulated’

Which was obviously a mistake on my part. A capitalist business is one unaffected by economic regulations - anything other than protection from force and ban on force.

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Nothing is obvious to me for the time being, but now that you've negated your earlier statement everything fits together much better, thank you.

I understand quite well that if I think a product has no value that I don't have to buy it, and I understand also that there's not much I can do if I see that everyone thinks and does the opposite. This means that I am deserving of better because I took the pains to look past what's in been placed in front of me to educate myself; those who blank out in thinking that what's in front of them is the best or only choice for reasons like 'everyone is using it', they're going to, by my standards, pay an unwarrented price for an unoriginal and disfunctional product. Thus, on the same note, I can think based on what I have taken the time to learn that the maker of that product is undeserving of what he recieves as reward, yet I cannot speak for, or even think for, others who don't know any better. Fine.

Yet - I see low-qual high-price (thus 'profit-oriented') products as causing damage to the economy they depend on and, beginning in the mid-1800's, sapping often still-developing others. Yet I must think a little more about that before posting here.

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"I am deserving of better"

This is one of your fundamental errors and why I have stayed out of this mostly pointless discussion. When trading with another individual, you do not "deserve" from them any particular form of product. They create what they create. They offer whatever they offer. They request in exchange what they request.

NOTHING MORE.

You do NOT somehow "deserve" anything different than that.

You do not "deserve" from ANYONE something that they do not create. You do not "deserve" something they do not wish to offer. Nor do you "deserve" to give them something different than what they seek.

You have NO claim WHATSOEVER over their productive endeavors nor their efforts at trading their products or services. Either what is offered fits your desires in relation to what is requested in exchange - or it does not.

PERIOD.

To claim you "deserve" more than what others offer you is to claim some form of 'entitlement' to their productive efforts.

That is simply wrong.

By simply 'wanting' something, you do NOTHING to "deserve" anything from anyone. Your 'want' of a particular product creates no 'right' to it. Your 'want' of a particular quality does not mean you are 'owed' it. Your 'want' of a particular price does not 'merit' you that price. Your 'want' of something different from everyone else does not somehow make you 'worthy' of demanding it from others. And your 'want' does not somehow diminish the validity of the wants of others, given their individual contexts. Nor does your particular 'want' make the trades between others who do not share your 'wants' "undeserved". They are no less 'worthy' of the trades they make than you are of yours.

Put simply, your 'want' - your DESIRE - your WISH - your WHIM - your NEED - of something is NOT a claim to the life of others. And yet THAT is EXACTLY the premise which drives your conversation here.

The ONLY way you can resolve your conflict is to change THAT premise (or to reject capitalism - which is what you have been trying to do by redefining its fundamental premises and principles).

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Put simply, your 'want' - your DESIRE - your WISH - your WHIM - your NEED - of something is NOT a claim to the life of others. And yet THAT is EXACTLY the premise which drives your conversation here.

Wrong wrong wrong. Non sequitur. I never stated or even insinuated anything of the kind, the closest I've come to anything remotely personal is naively 'worrying about the big baddie tricking all those stupid people'. Still that has nothing at all to do with myself and what I 'deserve.' My conversation may be pointless to you, but not to me, so no need to share that information. If you're not interested then just don't post. Next?

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By stating you DESERVE better, that is EXACTLY what you are claiming.

And your attempt to suggest you meant something else falls VERY flat. You say you meant "know better" not "deserve better". But your assertion does NOT fit your statements:

"This means that I am KNOWING of better because I took the pains to look past what's in been placed in front of me to educate myself; "

It just doesn't work - ESPECIALLY when you join it with your claim that the transactions made by others are UNDESERVED.

So no - you said PRECISELY what you meant (because it has been the driving force behind your ENTIRE argument) and now you are just trying to cover tracks and make false claims to avoid admitting it.

So your "wrong wrong wrong" is what is wrong.

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By stating you DESERVE better, that is EXACTLY what you are claiming.

If you had read the rest of the thread it would be quite obvious that I am totally uncconcerned with what 'I deserve' - my problem is trying to determine a system which in reality I have thought little about until now and know little about thus I am unable to analyze until, as was pointted out to me, I learn more about it. There is nothing about 'deserving' in that line of thought so it's your jumping on the one albeit badly-used word that is lame. I learn, therefore I know au lieu de I deserve is obviously much clearer. This makes you triple wrong.

Don't accuse me of 'trying' anything, I am not here to impress anyone. For a moderator, you sure are emotional.

Now, if you please?

For now I am still working out the economics of it all, and my reading with the aid of a few diagrams based hereon it's becoming simpler. At this point I have to say that I am still persuaded that a too-high profit margin over the production cost of a product is detrimental to the base of the system which is why, in order to maintain high profit margins throughought the 'homeland' production/distribution/marketing system, major companies have begun to seek resources and labour at a lower cost elsewhere. Seeking IMHO means also 'US interests' which is a yet darker angle but I wont' go there yet. Now, before you accuse me of coming up with communist theories I'm still working on it and am not devising any means of control with myself at the centre. I am simply trying to understand. Without the pointless accusation and flurry of back-patting I wouldn't even be posting here today.

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JMS

I use caps for bold, so you can back off the 'emotional' claim. And you assertion my post is simply about ONE word, which was misplaced is just as false as the first time I stated it. As I pointed out, you CONTRASTED your 'deserving of better' with a seller who gets UNDESERVED wealth from those who DON'T hold the same views on the trade as you.

So your assertion that you simply slipped on one 'one word' is out and out not true. You were pushing an idea and contrasting it along with what you perceived was its opposite - what you perceived as wrong behavior which capitalism 'allows'. You saw that 'you' as a 'knowledgable' person did not get what you actually 'deserved' ( from a producer in an example, and that the same producer did not get what he actually 'deserved' because 'unknowing' individuals traded for his 'bad' product.

THAT is your argument. And it is a variation on the theme you have been playing throughout the thread, and which you continue even in your last post ("too-high profit margin" - no such thing. The concept exists ONLY in the realm of the 'deserved' and 'undeserved').

So - if back-tracking on an idea without admitting you are doing so (in fact by denying you ever held the idea) is not "trying something" then you need to redefine your terms.

As it stands, your intellectual honesty IS in question.

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I use italics, myself : )

Will you understand that I am not concerned with what I or anyone else 'deserves' and have never used that word in that context. Now, since you've refused to read my postings for a third time, you are quadruply wrong.

So - if back-tracking on an idea without admitting you are doing so (in fact by denying you ever held the idea) is not "trying something" then you need to redefine your terms.

I saw the fault in my original hesitant propos through y_feldblum's critique. There is no reason for me not to do so here with yours. I meant 'I learned therefore I know' and my correction of my misuse of the word 'deserve' corresponds exactly with that thought. If you care to read back a ways I had already annuled all polemic on that hestiation and even any suggestion thereof with "One low-qual high-price product sold means that there's one consumer dumb enough to buy it." Tit for tat, even Steven. A trade. Drop it, you can know what I mean if you want to. Next?

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This bulletin board is a place for anyone who is interested in Objectivism, wants to debate, and has a strong stomache.  This place is not an outreach forum - that is a different thing with very little debate and a lot of "official" literature.  You certainly have a place here; nobody (to my knowledge) has decided to kick you out.  This place is for anyone who wants an interactive education like they had a century ago, when nobody was afraid to contradict and correct an error.

Thanks for telling me what the website I created is about. :)

Since this thread has degenerated into J.M.S talking to himself, I am closing it, and offering a warning: such behavior will not be tolerated.

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You certainly have a place here; nobody (to my knowledge) has decided to kick you out.

Actually, I thought that we did block J.M.S. from posting some months ago. Why has he been allowed back?

[edit] Nevermind, I just saw your most recent post on his warn log, David. [/edit]

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