Advertising Apologies

Samuel Cook defends advertising on the grounds that it: funds; drives culture; creates competition; and influences, rather than manipulates. I have argued at length against each of these apologies for advertising. Funding. Yes, advertising does fund newspapers, online search, social media, and many other useful services. But there are better ways to fund services we […]

Instantaneous Defection

Algorithms may make collusion easier, by reducing the cost of monitoring and reacting to the behavior of other participants in an oligopoly. But even the fastest of algorithms can’t guarantee collusion, contrary to what Stucke and Ezrahi seem (p. 62-65) to suggest. After all, the classic model of the failure of collusion, the prisoner’s dilemma, […]

What’s Left of Competition

I have on the one side anarchy, competition, and freedom, all synonyms, and on the other command, monopoly, and regulation. In general, the left wants freedom in private life (e.g., the liberation of women from their husbands) and regulation in public life (e.g., tax those sugary soft drinks). But when it comes to industrial organization, […]

A Standard Flight

Once, we standardized the price, and let the airlines compete on the product. That was nice, but elitist, because the standardized price was high. Now, we standardize nothing, except safety. Because the consumer notices only price, the airlines compete on headline fares, to fool the consumer, and debase the product to maximize profit. The solution […]