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Justice Butches Up

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The U.S. Department of Justice has announced that it is abandoning a Bush administration laissez-faire policy towards potential monopolies. Lawsuits are on the way.

Before anyone gets too excited about this, let’s not forget two great anti-trust lawsuits and successes. The first was the more than 10-year effort to break up IBM. This certainly helped American competitiveness. IBM laptops are now manufactured in China.

I don’t really know how much money was spent to break up AT&T. That was another great job of lawyering  that led to greater U.S. competitiveness. The lawsuit resulted in the creation of a smaller AT&T, spinning-off Bell Labs, and the advent of the Baby Bells. Remember NyNex? They used to sell IBM typewriters on Fifth Avenue, back in the day when IBM still made typewriters. In time, the Baby Bells acquired each other, and then AT&T acquired them all, thus re-establishing what Justice had tried for years at great expense to break up. All of this was accomplished at a cost—U.S. telephony was made more competitive, and a decent company (MCI) was acquired by Worldcom, a not-so-decent company led by a former high school coach who is now in federal prison for securities fraud. In the meantime, Bharti, MTN, China Telcom, T-Mobile’s German parent and others roamed the world picking up contracts.

We Americans do a great job litigating and squabbling. In this field of endeavor, we are better than anyone else. Much like the 17th century sons of Latin American nobleman arguing over recondite theological points on their estancias, all this judicial activity led to no real progress, and instead of promoting American business, merely made it less competitive in world markets at an enormous cost.

I understand Justice is looking at Google under the new policy. Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a country where you had the right to vote on whether Government should undertake such anti-business activities? Google should be afraid. Very afraid.

Written by mokane

May 12, 2009 at 10:11 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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