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Isn't that what I essentially said? That natural monopolies aside, we should leave it to the private sector? And even then, a natural monopoly could work well in the private sector as a consumer cooperative?
You do realise don't you that competition laws involve government intervention in the economy, and probably even more intervention than to just allow it to function as a consumer coop and certainly just as much intervention as it being government owned?
Do you really propose that a natural monopoly just be left to its own devices?
Yep. The government should only do that which is socially necessary and cannot be profitable, like search and rescue, criminal justice, defense, and infrastructure.
My heirarchy of solutions is:
1. Is it really a problem in the first place?
2. Leave it to the private sector.
3. Passive governmental involvement (provide tax incentives for the private sector to tackle the problem).
4. Public-private partnerships.
5. Direct government action.
Ask "Is it still really a problem?" at every step, and constantly look for ways to slim down or shut down any government action. "Useless/outdated regulation" audits should be regular, and conducted by entities with a financial stake in getting rid of regulatory garbage.
The tobacco, alcohol, lottery, and sex industries definitely have a stake in the regulation of their advertising.
The municipal sewer syste is a good example of a natural monopoly. Do you propose different commpeting sewer systems? Producing multiple sewer systems could be expensive. I'm not saying you can't privatize a natural monopoly, but it needs to be properly regulated then.
A consumer cooperative is one possibility. Another option is to allow only less than 50% market share, but that can undermine economies of scale since mnatural monopolies benefit from that. A consumer cooperative allows for no competition and so benefit from economies of scale while still allowing the consumers to vote on business policy to prevent the monopoly from gaining too much power.
Which is why we need a countervailing force with a financial incentive to eliminate regulation.
That's classic economics. Competition except where competition is impossible, regulation in that case. At the same time, constant review remains important. Competition in the early telephone industry was destructive, as various telephone companies refused to interconnect. So regulation created a monopoly and regulated it. Sixty years later, advancing technology made de-regulating the telephone industry desirable, so we did that.
Don't know about Canada, but hereabouts you're perfectly free to set one up.
Would a consumer cooperative in the US face competition laws or would it be allowed to monopolize? Honestly, I'm not sure in Canada. We do have competition laws against natural monopolies, but I can only assume that they apply to consumer coops but don't know for sure.
Also, it's difficult to set up a consumer coop in an industry that the government already has cornered. This would require the government to perhaps privatise it.
Don't forget getting a friendly reminder to renew your driver's license. It's one of the pillars of essential government as laid out by Libertarian theorist Ludwig von Mises. Ayn Rand wrote a book about it called "Lick my stamp, government office monkey." It wasn't popular, but true visionaries seldom are.
That's classic economics. Competition except where competition is impossible, regulation in that case. At the same time, constant review remains important. Competition in the early telephone industry was destructive, as various telephone companies refused to interconnect. So regulation created a monopoly and regulated it. Sixty years later, advancing technology made de-regulating the telephone industry desirable, so we did that..
All aspects of the NeoCon/Liberal economic agenda.. Free Trade, Monetarism (free markets in currency and credit), Deregulation (of markets), Privatization (of natural monopolies and utilities).. have ALL failed.
Here's an example of privatization. In Ireland, if you want a phone, you can call Eircom, the government phone company, and within three months they'll come out to hook you up. Or you can walk into a 3 store and walk out ten minutes later with a mobile that works and costs less than Eircom service.