Tag: Thomas Sowell

How to Listen to The Great Courses

Well, gardening season is here.

And that means one thing: I need lots of listening material.

I’ve mentioned it (quite a few) times: One of my favorite activities is to listen to lectures, podcasts, and audiobooks while I garden. My favorite source: The Teaching Company’s Great Courses series. (Caveat below.)

I spent awhile reviewing the various options for acquiring these splendid lectures. I believe there are four (besides just buying each lecture independently at enormous cost):

1. Subscribe to Audible through Amazon. $15 per month. You get a free book once a month, plus offers. It appears the entire Great Courses catalogue is available.

2. Subscribe to Audible independently with its Audible Plus Plan. For $8 monthly, you get access to its “Plus” catalog, which is a misnomer. It means, “Our 500,000 audio selections, minus 489,000.” Only 11,000 titles. There are very few Great Courses books, but there were dozens of audible books that greatly interest me (including a big selection of C.S. Lewis and Thomas Sowell). With this plan you can listen to any of them at no additional charge.… Read the rest

Don’t Believe the Google Antitrust Suit

I have little doubt the search engine behemoth deserves to go down, but this probably ain’t what it seems

“Random Books Under Glass,” by E. Studs Mulligan

So, Google gets sued for antitrust violations.

I’m not going to cry for Google, but antitrust laws, with the possible exception for brazen price-fixing, are awful. They’ve been used repeatedly for political purposes or out of a vague sense of injustice.

The laws themselves are vague and allow for vague application. The “monopolies” they purport to break apart aren’t monopolies at all.

Just ask the two local supermarket chains in Los Angeles who were prosecuted for antitrust violations because their proposed merger would’ve given them 8% market share in the Los Angeles area. Or the two shoe companies whose blocked merger would’ve given them 7 percent of the shoes sales in the U.S. Thomas Sowell, Basic Economics (Basic Books, 2007), 154.

Hudge and Gudge: The Real Problem

If you want to break up a real monopoly, then kill Hudge and Gudge. That merger–Big Business and Big Government–is the real problem. Big Government shielding Big Business from competition, thereby giving the Big Business a genuine monopoly.

It takes different forms. Antitrust laws could be applied against competitors, thereby cushioning a big business from market forces. Statutes could be geared in a way to hurt a business’ competitors. Regulations can be extremely fair and even-handed, applicable to all businesses, but are so burdensome that small businesses can’t meet them, thereby cushioning big businesses who can afford a team of in-house lawyers to bring them in compliance.

Or big business is simply given money from the public. This can be in the form of tariffs (which increase the price the public pays for goods, so the big business gets the extra profits) or tax breaks … Read the rest