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CORPORATISM, COMPETITION, CHOICE

The economy needs greater competition and choice, not greater concentration of power. The anti-capitalism message promoted by many progressive politicians is based largely on false narratives. Our society does not have issues related to free market capitalism, but with the rise of corporatism. Many industries become dominated by few multinational corporations. Policymakers should promote free enterprise and actively reduce poor public policies that create corporatism. 

Corporatism is the idea that corporations have more than their fair share of influence on our society, economy, and public policy. In the United States, corporatism is becoming a major issue, as markets are consolidating around multinational corporations. Moreover, political parties rely on these corporations to fund election campaigns, which are multibillion-dollar industries in themselves. This creates an uncomfortable association and sphere of influence. The path to fighting corporatism is not through socialism, but through restoring free market capitalism, which will truly empower the people. 

The consolidation of markets, whether through natural monopolies or socialism, is not optimal for positive economic outcomes. Many of the proponents of socialist economic principles overlook the proven flaws of single payer or single provider markets. Instead, they focus one potential short-term benefits, which rarely stand the test of time. Monopolistic industries can produce efficiency through economies of scale. The savings are not always transferred to the consumer, or in the case of public operators, passed on to the citizens. 

There are many examples of monopolistic markets in the United States, many of which were purposely created through public policy. For instance, operators of certain forms of transportation are generally protected from competition. Until recently, many public utilities operate in protected markets, providing consumers with one option. If socialist backers were right, these entities would provide consumers with affordable and high-quality services. Instead, government policies makers institute strong price controls and grant offsetting subsidies, combined with service outages and poorly maintained infrastructure, proving government run monopolies are not the answer. 

The answer to addressing corporatism is not shifting influence from corporate boardrooms to government bureaucrats. Americans do not desire resource rations, abject poverty, or denial of service, but opportunity and self-determination. Instead, policymakers can combat corporatism and income inequality through implementing policies that expand market competition and choice for consumers and workers. Creating environments where small and medium sized businesses can compete for customers and spread out distribution of profits and income is good for the economy. Consumers benefit from greater choices and enhanced market power. 

Consider the impact of market disruptions, especially in the case of companies like Uber. In many metropolitan markets, few taxicab companies dominate markets due to regulatory structures that prevent open competition, leaving many people paying a great deal of money for service they dislike. When Uber and Lyft disrupting the transportation ecosystem in many of these markets, the new competition forced these taxi companies to rethink their operations and the customer service to compete to earn business from consumers. Initially, many of these companies used their influence with policymakers to blunt growth of Uber and Lyft, but consumer demand was high enough to counter the effect. Companies should not utilize closeness with government to protect profitability, which is essential in socialist economies, but compete for consumer dollars by providing value. 

The expansion of choice helped provided new opportunities for scholars in public education and higher education. The United States has the most expensive public education system in the world, which is in a constant state of decline. While higher education has greater competition, regulation and public financing shield leaders from truly competing on a cost basis. The presence of charter and private schools as well as lower cost for-profit institutions create forces for change and better cost propositions. There are some needs to address, but expanding choice helps provide certain students avenues for achieving their educational needs and economic outcomes.

Choice and competition are essential to reducing the impact of corporatism and helping fight income inequality. Public policy that overtly restricts entry to certain markets need to be reviewed to improve access to markets. Quality standards are important, but many regulations are heavily influenced by large market providers. Some protect the market share of these large corporations without any real benefit to consumers. There may be more opportunities to provide temporary exemptions to allow small and medium size businesses to compete. 

Government should not decide winners or losers in markets, but, if incentives are needed, these deals should go to entities that need it. Which is fairer? Low tax environments for all businesses or high tax environment with sweetheart tax deals for select businesses? Obviously, the one with that treats all the same. If tax incentives are needed, it should go to small and medium sized businesses to help ensure market competition. 

Promoting competition expand choice and consumer market power. The market is more effective in providing customized affordable goods and services than government bureaucrats. In any market, producers will target select customer bases in order to maximize profitability. Not all producers can meet all the needs of customers and customers might not find all market offerings as equal substitutes. Generally, the more choices consumers have the greater likelihood each individual is able to find solutions that meet the needs of their households. 

Proponents of single payer health system believe society will be better off is power is shifted from private insurance providers to a centralized government entity. These people are wrong. A one size fit all plan may benefit the government coffers in the short term but will provide great market inefficiencies in the long term. Instead, policymakers should reduce geographic barriers that elevate price and focus on greater transparency and education among patient. There are many areas where health systems provide unnecessary services simply to generate revenue but does not directly improve patient care outcomes. 

Corporations do have more than their fair share of influence in our society. That power needs to go back to the people, not shifted to government bureaucrats, who too have too much power. Our vibrant private sector and free market economy provide more opportunity and created more innovation than any government program. Government has its role in society. Let’s keep it limited to what it can do well.