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OpenMarket: Business and Government

  • Facebook's $5 Billion Privacy Fine Almost Certainly Too High

    September 3, 2019
    Facebook has faced intense criticism from lawmakers and regulators since last spring, when The Observer and The New York Times reported that data from over 50 million Facebook users had been harvested as part of Cambridge Analytica’s effort to influence American voters.
  • Antitrust Basics: Think Long Term, Not Just Short Term

    August 23, 2019
    Moore’s Law states that computing power doubles every year and a half or so. An antitrust case against IBM, by contrast, lasted for 13 years, never reached a decision, and was eventually dropped because the original issue had long become obsolete.
  • David Koch (1940-2019), R.I.P.

    August 23, 2019
    Friend, philanthropist, inventor, and industrialist David Koch has died at the age of 79.  He was a father and husband. Known best for his pro-liberty activism and involvement in national politics, he also improved countless lives with more than a billion dollars in philanthropic donations to artistic, cultural, and medical charities. His generosity, optimism, and commitment to a freer world will continue to bear fruit for many generations.
  • When Did Conservatives Stop Loving a Free Economy?

    August 22, 2019
    National Review contributor and rage-inducing controversialist Kevin Williamson has a new book out, “The Smallest Minority: Independent Thinking in the Age of Mob Politics,” which covers a lot of big-picture theory on democracy, social psychology, and even theology. For the moment, I’m most interested in what he says about capitalism’s history and its recent evolution (if I may use that biological term).
  • Sealand, from Pirate Radio to Seasteading

    August 21, 2019
    Setting up a sovereign free territory has long been a dream of libertarian mavericks, from the ill-fated Republic of Minerva to the nascent Free Republic of Liberland. Yet arguably none has achieved the longevity of the Principality of Sealand. A major reason for that longevity—and accompanying notoriety—is the fact that Sealand, while perhaps whimsical in its origin, wasn’t merely a utopian experiment.
  • Will T-Mobile/Sprint Merger Increase Prices?

    August 21, 2019
    Lots of things influence prices and, of course, not all are influenced by the same factors. However, the lawsuit filed by several state attorneys general against T-Mobile/Sprint merger explicitly links the number of competitors in wireless market places to lower prices in several places.
  • Antitrust Basics: Corruption and Rent-Seeking

    August 21, 2019
    Rent-seeking is economics jargon for chasing after unfair special favors from government. Businesses and individuals have a large menu of rent-seeking options to choose from, and antitrust regulations are one of the items. Licensing regulations and other restrictions can make it harder for startups to enter a market, favoring incumbent businesses.
  • Business Roundtable Restates Obvious: Stakeholders Matter (and Always Have)

    August 19, 2019
    There’s a flurry of news coverage this morning about the Business Roundtable releasing a new public statement on “the purpose of a corporation.” Whereas previous versions stated that “corporations exist principally to serve their shareholders,” the new statement emphasizes the way in which the signatory CEOs “create value for all our stakeholders, whose long-term interests are inseparable.” Opinion writers like the Washington Post’s Steven Pearlstein consider this shift in language “significant,” but it seems more a clarification of what has always been true for American businesses than any real change in direction.
  • VIDEO: Why Beer Sucks in Socialist Countries

    August 16, 2019
    The trend of younger voters allegedly becoming more favorable to socialism has alarmed and chagrined many observers recently, from members of the New York Post editorial board (“Socialism’s millennial fans don’t even know what it is”) to an Arizona Republic columnist writing in USA Today (“If millennials choose socialism, fine. Just don't make this mistake”).
  • Children's Environmental Health Programs Translate to Junk Science

    August 14, 2019
    For more than a decade now, the federal government has doled out millions of dollars to fund junk science and political activism under the guise of “children’s environmental health.” Many of these programs sound science-based, but a close look at what they actually fund is disheartening, to say the least.

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