Regulation: How Big Business Suppresses Competition

I need to return some books to the library, so I’ll be posting a few of their thoughts that I found insightful. In Impostor (New York: Random House, 2006), Bruce Bartlett cites the following examples of big businesses lobbying for regulation so they can suppress competition. Remember that big businesses can support the costs of regulation, whereas small businesses have a harder time doing so.

“After a federal regulation on pool slides drove all its competitors out of business, the Aquaslide ‘N’ Dive Corporation heavily lobbied the Consumer Product Safety Commission to retain the regulation when the commission decided it was no longer justified.

“California cement producers lobbied to protect the endangered brown pelican in order to prevent construction of a new terminal in Redwood City for the importation of foreign cement.

“Package delivery companies UPS and FedEx are normally fierce competitors, but when threatened by delivery of Deutsche Post into the U.S. market they immediately joined forces to get the Department of Transportation to bar it from doing business here.

“Telecommunications companies frequently use government regulations to prevent potential competitors from getting into the business. Currently they are fighting companies that offer phone services over the Internet.

“Liquor wholesalers are fighting efforts to allow consumers to buy wine over the Internet–for no other reason except to maintain their legal monopoly on wine distribution and prevent consumers from having more choice at lower cost” (104-105).

This doesn’t exactly fit your typical leftist narrative: in which evil businesses oppress people until our savior, big government, swoops down to save the day. I was going to post this for a while, but it’s appropriate especially now, when “deregulation” is becoming a dirty word.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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5 Responses to Regulation: How Big Business Suppresses Competition

  1. Anonymous says:

    Big business is passing the best regulations money can buy: from city hall all the way to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and beyond.

    If you can’t count on Barney Frank, who can you count on?

    John B.


  2. James Pate says:

    That’s true! Do you have ideas on how regulating Fannie and Freddie would help big business?


  3. Anonymous says:

    Enough regulation to keep the mortgage industry deals honest. Stop approving junk mortgages which encourage excessive real estate speculation. Bundle mortgages together that will eventually be paid off in the secondary market so buyers know real value is there and not junk. Business would then care of itself.

    John B.


  4. nebcanuck says:

    So then the logical problem isn’t just that big business is unregulated, but that government is on big business’ side? I’m not sure that’s the point you were getting at, but to me the problem doesn’t seem to be the regulation, but the type of regulation in those examples.


  5. James Pate says:

    Sure, I agree with that, Nebcanuck. What should be done is we should take a look at the regulations and sift the ones that are absolutely necessary, from those that are not–whose goals can be accomplished at less of a cost (if the goal is a worthwhile one in the first place).


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