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OpenMarket: Business and Government

  • Observations from the Tech Antitrust Hearing

    July 30, 2020
    This post collects some observations from yesterday’s lengthy House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law hearings with the chief executives of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. In short, committee members addressed a lot of things they shouldn’t have, and did not address some things they perhaps should have.
  • Cheers to Department of Labor for Protecting Retiree Investments

    July 29, 2020
    At the end of last month the Department of Labor published a new notice of proposed rulemaking on the investment choices that private pension fund managers are allowed to make on behalf of their beneficiaries. The most proposed rule would clarify when it is possible to use environmental, social, and governance considerations when investing on behalf of pension fund beneficiaries.
  • Tech Antitrust Hearing as Political Theater

    July 29, 2020
    Large, innovative tech companies have been invaluable during the COVID-19 crisis, helping to ease the burden of millions of Americans and businesses under quarantine. But that won’t stop the House Antitrust Subcommittee from dragging the CEOs of Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google before it today. The investigation will have a difficult time meeting the U.S. standard for antitrust: consumer harm.
  • The Socialist Temptation: Socialism and American Values

    July 28, 2020
    The way to reach people is by making sure a policy accorded with their values. In his new book, The Socialist Temptation, Iain Murray argues that the recent rise in popularity of socialism has occurred because socialism talks a very good game when it comes to values. The trouble is that it actually undermines those values.
  • Antitrust Tech Hearing Unlikely to Prove Useful

    July 23, 2020
    Monday’s upcoming House Antitrust Subcommittee hearing featuring CEOs from Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Apple may turn out to have very little to do with antitrust. Don’t be surprised if members of the Committee focus more on those emotionally charged issues than on antirust criteria.
  • New #NeverNeeded Paper: Price Gouging

    July 23, 2020
    Massive shortages happened almost instantly when it became clear that the coronavirus would require a nationwide lockdown. Both Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and an Amazon vice president have called for federal price gouging legislation. In a new paper, I explain that price gouging legislation is a bad idea, regardless of one’s feelings about price gouging.
  • How Narrowly Are We Going to Define Markets for Tech Antitrust?

    July 21, 2020
    One of the key points of contention in any antitrust analysis is defining the scope of the market in question. Ignoring existing competitors by narrowing the field of analysis does not make them disappear, however. In fact, proceeding ahead with antitrust action based on insufficiently wide views of the market in question generally has the opposite of its intended effect.
  • Wealthy Millennials Not So Concerned with "Socially Responsible" Investing

    July 17, 2020
    In the last few years advocates of corporate social responsibility theory have been assuring everyone who would listen that a new day is dawning for financial management, and that younger investors would be increasingly demanding that public companies and investment management firms conduct business consistent with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals. A new industry study, however, may be interrupting that narrative.
  • America’s Cultural Revolution

    July 17, 2020
    In his forthcoming book, The Socialist Temptation, Iain Murray talks about how socialism in China produced the Cultural Revolution. The text of the book was finalized before our current moment, so he was unable to draw parallels between what happened then and what appears to be happening now, but he thinks we should worry.
  • Air Conditioning Can Help Fight COVID-19—If Federal Policy Allows It To

    July 2, 2020
    COVID-19 persists into the time of year when most Americans rely on air conditioning, so many are asking whether cranking up the cold air helps or hurts in the fight against spreading the virus. The answer is that air conditioning can provide substantial protection from coronavirus, but we need to make sure that the federal government’s pursuit of energy efficiency and climate change policy is not an impediment.

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