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Stiglitz: Monopoly's New Era

Lafayette

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Link to Project Syndicat: Monopoly's New Era

Excerpt:
For 200 years, there have been two schools of thought about what determines the distribution of income – and how the economy functions.

One, emanating from Adam Smith and nineteenth-century liberal economists, focuses on competitive markets. The other, cognizant of how Smith’s brand of liberalism leads to rapid concentration of wealth and income, takes as its starting point unfettered markets’ tendency toward monopoly. It is important to understand both, because our views about government policies and existing inequalities are shaped by which of the two schools of thought one believes provides a better description of reality.

For the nineteenth-century liberals and their latter-day acolytes, because markets are competitive, individuals’ returns are related to their social contributions – their “marginal product,” in the language of economists.

Capitalists are rewarded for saving rather than consuming – for their abstinence, in the words of Nassau Senior, one of my predecessors in the Drummond Professorship of Political Economy at Oxford. Differences in income were then related to their ownership of “assets” – human and financial capital. Scholars of inequality thus focused on the determinants of the distribution of assets, including how they are passed on across generations.

The second school of thought takes as its starting point “power,” including the ability to exercise monopoly control or, in labor markets, to assert authority over workers. Scholars in this area have focused on what gives rise to power, how it is maintained and strengthened, and other features that may prevent markets from being competitive. Work on exploitation arising from asymmetries of information is an important example.

In the West in the post-World War II era, the liberal school of thought has dominated. Yet, as inequality has widened and concerns about it have grown, the competitive school, viewing individual returns in terms of marginal product, has become increasingly unable to explain how the economy works. So, today, the second school of thought is ascendant.

Economists saw the trend coming long ago. In the pursuit of profits, which was quite normal, companies embarked upon what was at first called Conglomeration. Meaning a company would think beyond the confines of its own single market and branch out into others. Like General Electric that went from generating electricity from steam powered generators to jet-engines.

Just like General Electric, at one time, they went even further. They looked at profit-potential, and if it was good, they tried to buy the company. That trend was heady for a few decades in America, until corporate chieftains began to understand that managing so many companies was a real pain. Like a fire-storm, the trend blazed and inevitably slowed and finally died out.

Only to be replaced by Market Integration. Which is very much the same theory, except that it takes very competitive markets and reduces the competition by Agglomeration. Larger companies buy out their smaller competition, then they take-over even their major competitors.

The market is not a Monopoly, but very certainly an Oligopoly. That is, a market with a limited number of major players and very high entry-costs.

Which inevitably produces "sticky-pricing" and, in effect, no real competition amongst the three, four or five that dominate the market - each with a weary-eye for the dominant company who actually "sets prices". Of course, who pays for those oligopolistic profits?

You and me, and all the other consumers ...
___________________________________
 

joG

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Link to Project Syndicat: Monopoly's New Era

Excerpt:

Economists saw the trend coming long ago. In the pursuit of profits, which was quite normal, companies embarked upon what was at first called Conglomeration. Meaning a company would think beyond the confines of its own single market and branch out into others. Like General Electric that went from generating electricity from steam powered generators to jet-engines.

Just like General Electric, at one time, they went even further. They looked at profit-potential, and if it was good, they tried to buy the company. That trend was heady for a few decades in America, until corporate chieftains began to understand that managing so many companies was a real pain. Like a fire-storm, the trend blazed and inevitably slowed and finally died out.

Only to be replaced by Market Integration. Which is very much the same theory, except that it takes very competitive markets and reduces the competition by Agglomeration. Larger companies buy out their smaller competition, then they take-over even their major competitors.

The market is not a Monopoly, but very certainly an Oligopoly. That is, a market with a limited number of major players and very high entry-costs.

Which inevitably produces "sticky-pricing" and, in effect, no real competition amongst the three, four or five that dominate the market - each with a weary-eye for the dominant company who actually "sets prices". Of course, who pays for those oligopolistic profits?

You and me, and all the other consumers ...
___________________________________

Let us look at this:
"Specifically, Microsoft sought to
disadvantage the growth of non-Microsoft Internet
browsers that developers could have used to compete
with the Microsoft operating system monopoly."

Did it succeed? So all it means is that we must continue to be watchful and insist that laws are well made and crime is punished.
 

joG

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Link to Project Syndicat: Monopoly's New Era

Excerpt:

Economists saw the trend coming long ago. In the pursuit of profits, which was quite normal, companies embarked upon what was at first called Conglomeration. Meaning a company would think beyond the confines of its own single market and branch out into others. Like General Electric that went from generating electricity from steam powered generators to jet-engines.

Just like General Electric, at one time, they went even further. They looked at profit-potential, and if it was good, they tried to buy the company. That trend was heady for a few decades in America, until corporate chieftains began to understand that managing so many companies was a real pain. Like a fire-storm, the trend blazed and inevitably slowed and finally died out.

Only to be replaced by Market Integration. Which is very much the same theory, except that it takes very competitive markets and reduces the competition by Agglomeration. Larger companies buy out their smaller competition, then they take-over even their major competitors.

The market is not a Monopoly, but very certainly an Oligopoly. That is, a market with a limited number of major players and very high entry-costs.

Which inevitably produces "sticky-pricing" and, in effect, no real competition amongst the three, four or five that dominate the market - each with a weary-eye for the dominant company who actually "sets prices". Of course, who pays for those oligopolistic profits?

You and me, and all the other consumers ...
___________________________________

As to the numbers in the underlying study, they only look at the concentration in North America, if I saw it correctly. In my sector the US companies are not overly large in comparison to the foreign ones, though, they are more profitable. Were the concentration in the US is large is in "new technologies", where companies like Microsoft etc came from nowhere to fill a new demand. But that has nothing whatever to do with the conventional process of capital accumulation but a lot to do with disruptive technologies, the success of invention and dynamic markets.
 

azgreg

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Another thread on this in the same sub-forum?
 

Lafayette

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As to the numbers in the underlying study, they only look at the concentration in North America, if I saw it correctly. In my sector the US companies are not overly large in comparison to the foreign ones, though, they are more profitable. Were the concentration in the US is large is in "new technologies", where companies like Microsoft etc came from nowhere to fill a new demand. But that has nothing whatever to do with the conventional process of capital accumulation but a lot to do with disruptive technologies, the success of invention and dynamic markets.

Google and Microsoft are examples of Market Dominance in HiTech. Both got very rich from price-gouging, or, if you like, perfectly legal price-fixing. For which the European authorities have just indicted Google. We'll see what happens in Europe, if Uncle Sam is too much of a market-overseer milquetoast to do his duty in the US. (And I cannot imagine why Bing is not doing better; it's a damn fine search-mechanism.)

However, in fact I was thinking of some more traditional markets that are heavily consolidated, more humdrum: US HealthCare, Banking, and Insurance. Some others with the same trends (from here, excerpted):
*Automotive parts suppliers have consolidated from 30,000 in 1988 to 8000 in 1999 and are projected to consolidate further to 2000 by 2008. The biggest automotive-component suppliers are likely to expand at rates of 20 percent to 30 percent a year over the next five years, largely reflecting acquisitions.
*All five of the top commercial real estate services firms that provide facility management services have been through a level of consolidation.
*Other heavy consolidation industries:
Industrial consolidation, US.jpg

Aside from stock-market valuations, is the American public better off from too much consolidation ... ?
 

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Let us look at this: "Specifically, Microsoft sought to disadvantage the growth of non-Microsoft Internet browsers that developers could have used to compete with the Microsoft operating system monopoly." Did it succeed? So all it means is that we must continue to be watchful and insist that laws are well made and crime is punished.

Blathering again?

Microsoft succeeded because Gary Kildall, the inventor of CP/M, died in a stupid car-crash. Kildall and Gates knew one another well, because they were initially the only two "open system" purveyors of PC Operating Systems. Apple was a closed-system machine.

Both MS-DOS and CP/M were equivalent in most respects, but with the death of Kildall, CP/M did not make the conversion to a more complete operating system for a multi-tasking PC - as IBM conceived its PC. In fact, it was Gates who showed them how to conceive a PC because IBM engineers at the time hadn't the faintest idea. Gates eventually dumped developing operating-systems for IBM when Microsoft did not need them anymore - PC production was growing under multiple different makers.

It wa s a real shame, because at the beginning both operating-systems were roughly equivalent, and had CP/M continued its development it could have been at least as successful as Apple.

Fate can be a vicious mistress ...
_______________________________
 

gavinfielder

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For 200 years, there have been two schools of thought about what determines the distribution of income – and how the economy functions.

One, emanating from Adam Smith and nineteenth-century liberal economists, focuses on competitive markets. The other, cognizant of how Smith’s brand of liberalism leads to rapid concentration of wealth and income, takes as its starting point unfettered markets’ tendency toward monopoly.
This portrays the two as almost mutually exclusive; they are not. I am of Smith's viewpoint that competition is good and great, but recognize capitalism's tendency towards consolidation and therefore loss of competition. Unfettered markets are the tool of their own transition from positive contribution to negative.

Consolidation is indeed a problem. The UK recognizes this, because one metric they always talk about in parliament is the number of new businesses--they stick low numbers to their opponents, while all we talk about is jobs.
 

joG

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Google and Microsoft are examples of Market Dominance in HiTech. Both got very rich from price-gouging, or, if you like, perfectly legal price-fixing. For which the European authorities have just indicted Google. We'll see what happens in Europe, if Uncle Sam is too much of a market-overseer milquetoast to do his duty in the US. (And I cannot imagine why Bing is not doing better; it's a damn fine search-mechanism.)

However, in fact I was thinking of some more traditional markets that are heavily consolidated, more humdrum: US HealthCare, Banking, and Insurance. Some others with the same trends (from here, excerpted):


Aside from stock-market valuations, is the American public better off from too much consolidation ... ?

Taking on Google is perfectly legitimate. If they broke the law albeit law made to advance domestic companies, take them to the cleaners. That the Europeans dislike companies of that type is quite clear. France tried desperately for a while to produce a Google and failure is always unpleasant. Whether the bitter taste is a good consultant for national policies, is another matter.

But even in the traditional markets like telecommunications or radio/tv you will find that the number of competitors is quite large. I make calls on the internet and with telephone companies. The market is much more competitive now, than when national monopolies provided the only service and prices have come way down. Media is the same thing and Banks used to have local oligopolies, while now banks from all around the world compete for business everywhere.
 
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joG

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Blathering again?

Microsoft succeeded because Gary Kildall, the inventor of CP/M, died in a stupid car-crash. Kildall and Gates knew one another well, because they were initially the only two "open system" purveyors of PC Operating Systems. Apple was a closed-system machine.

Both MS-DOS and CP/M were equivalent in most respects, but with the death of Kildall, CP/M did not make the conversion to a more complete operating system for a multi-tasking PC - as IBM conceived its PC. In fact, it was Gates who showed them how to conceive a PC because IBM engineers at the time hadn't the faintest idea. Gates eventually dumped developing operating-systems for IBM when Microsoft did not need them anymore - PC production was growing under multiple different makers.

It wa s a real shame, because at the beginning both operating-systems were roughly equivalent, and had CP/M continued its development it could have been at least as successful as Apple.

Fate can be a vicious mistress ...
_______________________________

When most people think internet browser, they do not think Microsoft. So don't go off topic.
 

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Another thread on this in the same sub-forum?

Nope, my mistake.

I wanted to change the linked document, and could not find the way to delete the document and redo it. So, I just cancelled the web-page, but that does not cancel the document-in-progress. As I have learned.

This is a damn fine forum software being used. The best I've seen.

But, it is not perfect ...
 

Lafayette

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That the Europeans dislike companies of that type is quite clear. France tried desperately for a while to produce a Google and failure is always unpleasant. Whether the bitter taste is a good consultant for national policies, is another matter.

Once again, you are showing your ignorance as regards Europe and Europeans.

America has a clear advantage because it is a single language. Europe has a drawback because products have to be adapted to each country. Moreover a product must be a bit more sophisticated in Europe than in America as regards "uptake" by the each nation's population. Also, the entire product-support system must be created country-by-country - which is laborious but doable.

Never mind - ignorance is also bliss, dead-wrong but happy ...

NB: France made no serious effort to develop an Internet browser. In the late 1990s, damn few French had even a PC ...
__________________________
 
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Lafayette

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When most people think internet browser, they do not think Microsoft. So don't go off topic.

As of April, this was browser usage:

2016
Chrome: 70.4 %
Firefox: 17.5 %
IE: 5.8 %
Safari: 3.7 %
Opera: 1.3 %

Search-engine usage:
Google: 88.7%
Bing: 4.8%
Yahoo: 3.3%
Baidu: 0.73%

PS: If you are using Google inside side of Chrome, know that your Internet behaviour is NOT an unknown. Perhaps not your identity, because anyone investigating will get that from your Web-supplier - and that should not be too difficult either ...
__________________________
 
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joG

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Once again, you are showing your ignorance as regards Europe and Europeans.

America has a clear advantage because it is a single language. .....

That is another thing that is quite cute. You always have an excuse on your lips. ;)
 

Lafayette

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But even in the traditional markets like telecommunications or radio/tv you will find that the number of competitors is quite large.

You never know until you look at their ultimate owners. A list of Telecom companies is just that. A list ...
 

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As of April, this was browser usage:

2016
Chrome: 70.4 %
Firefox: 17.5 %
IE: 5.8 %
Safari: 3.7 %
Opera: 1.3 %

Search-engine usage:
Google: 88.7%
Bing: 4.8%
Yahoo: 3.3%
Baidu: 0.73%

PS: If you are using Google inside side of Chrome, know that your Internet behaviour is NOT an unknown. Perhaps not your identity, because anyone investigating will get that from your Web-supplier - and that should not be too difficult either ...
__________________________

And to get back to the link, which of those is by Microsoft that used its monopoly power to grab the browser market?
 

Lafayette

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And to get back to the link, which of those is by Microsoft that used its monopoly power to grab the browser market?

Wrong name. Try "Google" ...

Microsoft is "IE"! Microsoft employed its monopoly in PCs to dominate the Browser Wars initially.

From WikiP, excerpt:
United States v. Microsoft Corporation 253 F.3d 34 (D.C. Cir. 2001) is a U.S. antitrust law case, ultimately settled by the Department of Justice, where Microsoft Corporation was accused of becoming a monopoly and engaging in abusive practices contrary to the 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act sections 1 and 2. It was initiated on May 18, 1998 by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and 20 states.

The plaintiffs alleged that Microsoft abused monopoly power on Intel-based personal computers in its handling of operating system and web browser sales. The issue central to the case was whether Microsoft was allowed to bundle its flagship Internet Explorer (IE) web browser software with its Microsoft Windows operating system. Bundling them together is alleged to have been responsible for Microsoft's victory in the browser wars as every Windows user had a copy of Internet Explorer. It was further alleged that this restricted the market for competing web browsers (such as Netscape Navigator or Opera) that were slow to download over a modem or had to be purchased at a store. Underlying these disputes were questions over whether Microsoft altered or manipulated its application programming interfaces (APIs) to favor Internet Explorer over third party web browsers, Microsoft's conduct in forming restrictive licensing agreements with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and Microsoft's intent in its course of conduct.

And,

Bill Gates was called "evasive and nonresponsive" by a source present at a session in which Gates was questioned on his deposition. He argued over the definitions of words such as "compete", "concerned", "ask", and "we". Businessweek reported that "early rounds of his deposition show him offering obfuscatory answers and saying 'I don't recall' so many times that even the presiding judge had to chuckle. Many of the technology chief's denials and pleas of ignorance have been directly refuted by prosecutors with snippets of email Gates both sent and received."
________________________
 
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Microsoft is "IE"! Microsoft employed its monopoly in PCs to dominate the Browser Wars initially.
Pretty sure microsoft never made money with IE specifically.

If you need something to reach for, the monopoly leverage that microsoft has with professional and educational institutions would be more effectual. No one else can deploy on scale the technology a generation of users grew up on.
 

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I am of Smith's viewpoint that competition is good and great, but recognize capitalism's tendency towards consolidation and therefore loss of competition. Unfettered markets are the tool of their own transition from positive contribution to negative. .

Adam Smith did not have, in his time, a tool for moderating the desire to accumulate mountains of money. After all, what every corporate chieftain is looking for is a megabuck a year (or so) that entitles them to recognition and a lifestyle of ease.

The mistake is made when they want gigabucks. Which is why they pursue that goal by pushing a company excessively and even taking a few short-cuts (by means of buyouts), which warp our market-economy. And delivers the gross income-disparity we have today.

I know I keep coming back to this point (that the base of all our ills is greed) but that is the case prevailing in America today. When Income Distribution becomes as disparate and unfair as it exists in the US (see our Gini Coefficient), then something must be done!

Americans who have an ingrained sense of fairness should be alarmed at the harm occurring to a significant number of our families because no government wants to tackle the problem. (Since to do so would harm a politician's ability to get elected!)

When the easiest solution is simply to put taxation of upper-income back up where it was before 1960! And change the deductibles to assure that no one escapes through a back-door.

What will happen? For one thing, America will continue to produce its millionaires. And, with a bit of luck, maybe no more billionaires. Besides, who needs them?

The economy will continue to innovate without billionaires ...
 
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Lafayette

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Pretty sure microsoft never made money with IE specifically.

Agreed, but in the beginning, IBM pitched their equipment to business customers that constituted entirely client base. It was later that IBM started selling to the general public. And with the advent of the Internet the browser was a necessity to interest the non-professionals. The general public needed something "tangible" to justify the purchase, and the advent of Internet was a good reason to purchase a PC.

It was then that Gates cut the umbilical cord with IBM ... and finally IBM sold its PC business to the Chinese.
 

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Pretty sure microsoft never made money with IE specifically.

If you need something to reach for, the monopoly leverage that microsoft has with professional and educational institutions would be more effectual. No one else can deploy on scale the technology a generation of users grew up on.

Actually Apple has done quite well in the educational market. Microsoft never had a monopoly there. I remember most of the schools in the 80s and 90s had Apple products.
4 years ago Apple had 50% of the of the educational market share. Microsoft had like 49%.
Last I read Apple has 47% of the education market, Microsoft has 28% and Google has 25%.
 

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Since this thread was repeated in another thread...

'Oh Jeez...what an macroeconomic ignoramus this ding dong is. He is like the Fed Governors...tons of degrees, theories and intelligence and almost totally clueless as to how the world actually works.

This dude is SO worried about free market and how in the last thirty years economic power has been concentrated into a precious few...yet this same ding dong seems completely clueless of the fact that the main reason for this is due to government and central bank intervention (especially since 2000 or so).

These neo-Keynesians are thick as whale omelettes when it comes to economics. They scream for more government control/intervention/stimulus and yet are clearly blinded to the ridiculously obvious fact that the reason for all the centralization of monies/power is precisely because governments have grown far more powerful and naturally are corrupt and create rules/laws that help their buddies...the rich.

Hey Joe? Look what has happened just since the beginning of the Great Recression? Massive government/central bank intervention. The Result? Food stamp usage is up roughly 40%, home ownership rates are falling hard overall and are at generation lows, the M2 money velocity is in near-free fall and at RECORD low (which means people are not spending) and the 25-54 age range employment to population ratio (the heart of the middle class) is still no where near where it was before the Great Recession. Yet the rich are thriving.
The great experiment is failing miserably. And the more money they throw at it...the worse it becomes for the masses and the better it becomes for the rich...DUH.

If these arrogant, self-inflated, windbags would leave their ivory towers (with open minds) for just five minutes they would see the absolute nonsense of their theories. But they can't because they are closed minded are in those ivory towers and have NO IDEA WHATSOEVER how the real world works (just like the clueless ones at the Fed).'
 

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FUTURE-KIDS

Last I read Apple has 47% of the education market, Microsoft has 28% and Google has 25%.

Perhaps. Best I can do is this market-study: Chromebooks schooling Apple, Microsoft in education market

Excerpt:
Futuresource claims that Chromebooks accounted for more than 50 percent of U.S. sales for education devices in the third quarter, a jump that comes at the expense of iOS devices (i.e., iPads) and, to a lesser degree, Windows PCs. That's up from 40 percent at the same point last year, and less than one percent back in 2012.

And, if you want to get into the real nitty-gritty of that market:
(04 December 2015) Microsoft Expected to Fight Back in Global K-12 Market in 2016

NEED FOR RESULTS

My concern is not with the means but the results. Because, boy-oh-boy, do we need results/consequences BIGTIME!

What I mean is the ongoing study by the OECD called Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). The results of the program for the latest testing (in 2012) are here: Key PISA Findings. (Scroll down to page 7 for the international results listing.)

Excerpt (partial):
Among the 34 OECD countries, the United States performed below average in mathematics in 2012 and is ranked 27th (this is the best estimate, although the rank could be between 23 and 29 due to sampling and measurement error). Performance in reading and science are both close to the OECD average. The United States ranks 17 in reading, (range of ranks: 14 to 20) and 20 in science (range of ranks: 17 to 25). There has been no significant change in these performances over time.

Anyone in the US interested in their child's schooling should read that document to understand the mediocre results of the PISA testing. Whilst we in the US are debating "private/public" precious time is being lost every year - because of inadequate funding of state-schools in all three levels of primary, secondary and tertiary education. Moreover, kids failing primary and secondary schooling don't make it into tertiary, which condemns them to much lower lifetime incomes. See that fact driven-home in this infographic:
Earnings and Unemployment Rates by Educational Attainment (2015).jpg

MY POINT?

Just one-third of the DoD budget reallocated to the Dept. of Education to improve the system nationwide would go a long, long way because the states cannot do it themselves (apparently).

Of course, perhaps you think preparing your kids for the future is not a national priority? Then, uh, sorry to bother you with such a mundane matter ...
_______________________________________
 
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Lafayette

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OUR WINNER-TAKES-ALL ECONOMY

He is like the Fed Governors...tons of degrees, theories and intelligence and almost totally clueless as to how the world actually works.

Blathering in a blog again, are we?

What you know about the question at hand (as posed by Stiglitz, Nobel Prize Winner in Economics) would fit a thimble.

Your trite little world is one where only one parameter is paramount: Muney, Muney, Muney. And s/he who's got the most is obviously the winner - in an economy where "winner takes all"!

Which is the height of stoopidity, since it casts aside far more important criteria relevant to a developed economy. Like Income Disparity that is ravaging America, because plutocrats have manipulated the muney-pump by having Congress and Replicant Ronnie implement tragically a minuscule flat-rate tax upon upper-incomes in the 1980s.

Are you blind to the consequences apparent today? Incarceration rates that are, by far, the highest of any developed nation! (And that's only one factor amongst many.)

Never mind, any factual argument is totally lost on people of your kind ...
__________________________
 
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MY POINT?

Just one-third of the DoD budget reallocated to the Dept. of Education to improve the system nationwide would go a long, long way because the states cannot do it themselves (apparently).

Of course, perhaps you think preparing your kids for the future is not a national priority? Then, uh, sorry to bother you with such a mundane matter ...
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Well, this is a major part of the problem, you have to account for (the comparably massive) military spending in the USA. Also how does this fit into the rest of the American economy, how the rise of wall st, and the ever increasing financialization of america, is directly tied to its increase in military spending, that occurred over the last few decades especially during the cold war rearmament, with things like the star wars programs, and the nuclear arms race. You also have to ask, how does america fit into the international economy. The dollar is the world reserve currency because America is the worlds sole military power, arguably the worlds police force.

If Americans abandoned the role of the worlds police, how would that effect their economy? And would the obvious direct benefits of that, outweigh the unforeseen consequences?
 
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