Its OK to dislike big business

Over on the ASC forum, Bono asks:

Am I bad if I don't like (most) big businesses? I don't like them. At least not really. I also think in Ancapistan, allmost every business would be medium sized only, or else extremely efficient.

I don't think its bad to be against big business as a libertarian or ancapist. Its a tricky issue because we tend to be pro-business and pro-capitalism, and to disagree with the arguments leftists use to attack big corporations. Yet this does not mean that there are not excellent libertarian reasons to be wary of big businesses.

Democracy is bad partly because it transfers wealth from dispersed interests to concentrated ones. Besides government itself, the main concentrated interests are large businesses, large unions, and coalitions of small businesses. The major dispersed interest is individuals. Therefore democracy does a lot of transferring wealth from the general population to large businesses, unions, and coalitions (and the individuals who are part of them).

The question about how large businesses would be under market anarchy is a much more difficult one. Firm size is too complicated a matter to analyze fully here, but the argument above suggests that one input is changing. Under anarchy, there would be less benefit from being large, because business can no longer use their concentrated power to enact regulations to protect themselves and profit at people's expense. Therefore firms will tend to be smaller.

However, I don't think all firms are large because of this. Microsoft is a classic example. Yeah, they use patents to protect their position now. But they got big because of the nature of the operating system market, not because of regulation. So I think there would still be some large firms in Ancapistan (the mythical market anarchist country).

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Having worked to abolish the

Having worked to abolish the antitrust laws for three years, my own experience hasn't made me anti-big business, but it has made me very skeptical of management, especially at the larger corporations. The amount of abuse the FTC and DOJ are allowed to inflict upon businesses is due largely to the passive, pragmatist attitude of corporate executives, who prefer to hide behind lawyers rather than advance a principled argument in support of their shareholders. This is why I've lately started referring to antitrust as a "corporate governance issue".

Good posts patri, and skip

Good posts patri, and skip oliva.

Simple, and strait to the point.