An American Misjudgement

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An American Misjudgement

We are something of an observer of the general industrial scene.

The development that we have just outlined is common to all the industrial countries.

None is spared.

It has not, we judge, gone quite as far in France as in Germany or the United States.

But modem industry has everywhere the same basic dynamic.

In advertising and model changes and gadgetry and other things that persuade the consumer.

This is safe; it rarely, if ever, leads to price competition.

The oil companies each try to sell more gasoline; they advertise the peculiar virtues of their own brand while knowing that it is interchangeable with all the others and may even have come from the same tank.

But they don't cut prices.

Anything that threatens the basic control over prices is banned.

That is the real manifestation of market power.

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Avoiding The View

A fair number of economists have managed to avoid the view.

A very conservative group, dwindling in size we would judge, simply ignores the whole development.

If you believe in the market, you don't allow such things to bother you; you deny that oligopoly makes any real difference.

That is the position of Professor Milton Friedman and his very distinguished communicants.

And, on occasion, they also produce statistics to show that concentration and oligopoly are no longer getting worse.

Quite a few liberal economists accept that concentration and oligopoly undermine... see: Avoiding The View

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