"[M]onopoly profits exist over the long run only when the government guarantees them, as in utilities and cable. And for concentration of market power, no robber baron can hold a candle to the U.S. government.... The hugest concentration of market power in this country does not lie with the likes of Rupert Murdoch or Bill Gates, but with government itself.... No private company, no matter how huge or wealthy, could possibly have as much widespread power over the function of American markets as government does. And this power is exercised with essential unseriousness.... And unlike business attempts to make money, which necessarily involve selling something to a willing consumer, government’s market manipulations require forcing people into situations -- whether paying for cars or food, paying for R&D or new technologies, or selling off a part of their company -- that they would not have wanted to be in but for the government’s ham-handed threat of force.... Nothing could serve the workings of the marketplace better than [government] leaving it."
by:
Brian Doherty
(1968-) American journalist, author, Senior Editor at Reason magazine
Source:
Monopoly Games, Reason, p 7, Aug./Sept. 1995.
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Reader comments about this quote:
The key is the government's ability to use force and strip individuals of their freedom.
 -- J. Allen, Arlington, Va     
  •  
    This is what the Occupy people don't get. I understand that they are angry, we all are. But they are completely misguided in their anger. Sadly it plays right into the government monopoly of "more government" and "more regulations". What the OWS crew wants will make things worse, not better. Restore the Republic and Abolish the Fed!
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
  •  
    "Nothing could serve the workings of the marketplace better than [government] leaving it." Nothing could serve the interests of society as a whole than the correct balance of government regulation imposed on otherwise unfettered capitalism. Without any government regulations we return to an economic law of the jungle - great for the winners, abhorrent for the rest.
     -- Alva, Port Townsend     
  •  
    Alva, that seems to be a popular viewpoint. Can you tell me where in history this has actually happened in the past? I'd like to know, what is your point of reference? We've absolutely "never" had a real free market...never!
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
  •  
    My business is one of the last standing in the industry (due specifically to government intervention, rules and regulation). What I produce happens to be the best in the industry while being non-intoxicating, non-hazardous, non-toxic, non-carcinogenic, well below any carbon foot print standard (in manufacturing and/or use), etc., etc. AND, was such from inception through today's governmental attempts to kill all business except for a select few. The more government gets involved in business, or anything (socialistic take over), the more quality, quantity, and the free market diminishes !
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  •  
    Alva, by your use of unfettered capitalism, I see that you have accepted the false propaganda set forth by anti-capitalist socialists. Your explanation also would infuse a false understanding of free market into capitalism (both there being the same - they are not). Government, at natural law, are individuals united, that agree to a compact of acceptable risk (how many parts per million of fluoride in the drinking water for example). Such standard is set by statute (or otherwise) and the free market will figure out its own way of dealing with the standard. If, for example, to much fluoride is placed in the drinking water and someone's arteries are hardened because of it, those persons and/or entities that over fluoridated would be held personally responsible. No regulation as how to fluoridate is necessary - such only acts to lower the standard. A free market depends on active and responsible individuals, such as yourself, to keep the standard. An extremely curt definition of capitalism is a non-debt monetary system where an individual has excess beyond their needs and invests such in a wealth building enterprise. I hope that is helpful.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  •  
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA, US      
    The 'A' from Reston, what could you possibly find wrong with the above quote? The quote is extremely accurate. You may not like the freedom, prosperity, protection of an individual sovereign's inalienable rights, life and property, and otherwise exercise of natural law a non-government intervention would induce but, that is not a comment on the quote. Why the thumb's down?
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  •  
    The idea that corporate power is corruptible but government power is pure has become the downfall of America. The purpose of law and justice is due process for ALL. The reason government power was supposed to be limited is because government is nothing other than people just as imperfect and corruptible as any other -- perhaps even more so because of the tremendous power that accompanies government office. For that very reason, We the People have limited what power our servant government is to have -- i.e. politicians, police, military, judges, attorneys, and simple government employees. Those that praise government are in actuality attempting to protect what they believe to be their fair share of the government's plunder and line of credit - in other words, a monopoly on power. When government devolves into simply legalized thievery, it becomes racketeering. I am afraid that today, our government is but servant to the most powerful mafia on the planet, the 'royal families of banking' who will wage war on whomever attempts to arrest their massive plundering of the world.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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