Location: Granite Falls, North Carolina, United States

I'm an ordained United Methodist minister no longer pastoring churches, a former media producer with skills ten years out of date, a writer trying to sell my first novel, and a sales associate keeping body and soul together working for the People's Republic of Corporate America. I'm married to the most wonderful woman in the world, who was my best friend for 17 years before we married.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

On Competition

Why is it, I have asked over and over, that those who are so eager for the government to compete with private enterprise through school vouchers are so deathly AFRAID of the government competing with private enterprise in the field of health care?

After all, isn't competition the American way? Look at UPS and FedEx. They have been quite successful in competing with the U.S. Postal Service.

But then again, maybe competition isn't the American way. Look at the oil companies. Big oil companies--Texaco, Shell, Amoco, Mobil--have been bought out by bigger oil companies--Exxon, BP. And big banks have been bought out by bigger banks. NCNB bought out some other banks and became NationsBank, then bought out BankAmerica and became Bank of America. Northwestern Bank was bought out by First Union, which then bought out Wachovia and changed its own name to Wachovia, because First Union had such a bad reputation among its customers. Now that Wachovia has been bought out by Wells Fargo.

And so it goes.

So mergers and acquisitions seem to be the business model of American companies rather than competition. Big Microsoft couldn't let WordPerfect have the field to itself; it had to come out with MS Word. There were perfectly good spreadsheet programs available, but they had to make Excel the industry standard. Now that Google has metastisized to the point it has Microsoft has to come out with Bing to compete with them. They are also trying to buy Yahoo, which was the big dog for a while.

As I have also said, "too big to fail" is a phrase we are too familiar with, but it raises the question: How do we keep companies from growing to the point where they are too big to fail?

Teddy Roosevelt, where are you now that we need you?


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