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antitrust

Businesses Need Anti-Monopoly Policies from Government

A James Fallows article in The Atlantic, "Made in America, Again, reminds us of the paramount importance of government policy with regard to monopoly and market power. Any one or a few massive market players can ruin the market for innovation and small business, which is one of the reasons government should seriously focus on preventing any one or a few entities from growing too large.

When Liam Casey took me through his Highway1 incubator for hardware start-ups in San Francisco, I spoke with 10 (mainly) young entrepreneurs who each hoped to set up a small hardware company somewhere in the United States. Not one of them volunteered tax or regulatory concerns as playing big parts in his or her go/no-go decisions. What they did want was a streamlined system to get their products into customers’ hands. To that end, they were concerned with things like the structure of retail distribution, especially the huge investment in inventory required to get their products carried in big-box stores. “Boring-seeming practical details make a big difference for these start-ups,” James Manyika told me. “If I am a small manufacturer doing something interesting, my chances are much better if I happen to be in physical proximity to a larger company, or to a network of experienced people who can help me get to scale.”

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