Data can get stale rapidly in 2021. The information below is from Visual Capitalist and is based on March 2021 data. So, for instance, Facebook reportedly surged past a $1 trillion dollar market cap following their ‘defeat’ of the Federal Trade Commission antitrust efforts in the District of Columbia federal court. Nevertheless, this illustration is useful to help picture just how much wealth is in the hands of corporations and their major stockholders. Follow the instructions below this infographic to see it in a significantly larger size.
As CNN reported the Facebook legal victory and its result:
A federal court has dismissed the Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust complaint against Facebook, saying the agency had failed to provide evidence for its claim that the social media giant holds a monopoly in social networking.
In an opinion published Monday afternoon, Judge James Boasberg of the US District Court for the District of Columbia held that the FTC “failed to plead enough facts to plausibly establish … that Facebook (FB) has monopoly power in the market for Personal Social Networking (PSN) Services.”
Boasberg wrote that the FTC did not do enough to back up its assertion that Facebook holds a “60%-plus” share of the social media market.
Facebook’s stock ended Monday up more than 4% following the news, pushing the company’s market value above $1 trillion for the first time.”
Clayton Homes parent company Berkshire Hathaway is shown as one of the top 10 corporations by market capitalization (market cap). If you don’t think that gives Berkshire clout, it is time to think again. Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger, Berkshire partners and the conglomerates chairman and vicechair recently did a longform interview with CNBC. See the report linked below. In it, the duo frankly say that rich corporate leaders and politicians are seeking – and getting – more power.
The FTC legal defeat may only be temporary. Time will tell if the Biden regime will challenge the outcome. If they do not, don’t be surprised. If they do with a tepid kabuki theater type effort, don’t be surprised. There is a lot of noise about antitrust, but much of what is being discussed is thinly veiled kicking the can down the road. When new legislation is being discussed, that’s precisely what it means. Here is the U.S. Chamber, think big business and pro-M&A activity, recent arguably misleading antitrust propaganda video. As is often true with modern propaganda, this is a mix of accurate and inaccurate information.
The opposite of propaganda is the truth based on facts and evidence. New York Stern’s Scott Galloway explains the importance and history of antitrust in this video below, which was made prior to the court ruling in the Facebook case. That said, it is a fine introduction to the topic.
At about the 7:50 mark, Scott Galloway says ‘that government is no longer a countervailing force but a co-conspirator.’ He goes through the history of antitrust and how it keeps smaller firms from emerging, how breakups actually benefit companies of all sizes, and how the ultimate winners are consumers and employees. Note that while Galloway is correct that the focus of antitrust laws need to be on more than prices, as he himself pointed out earlier in this video, that is an interpretation of the current laws. More on this further below.
As the Academy of Ideas (AoI) framed it in a recent video, “To truly understand the wealth inequality debate, it is necessary to recognize that in an economy dominated by government intervention, such as exists today, there are two substantively different ways one can obtain large amounts of wealth – and only one is compatible with equality before the law.”
AoI continued their thesis by saying: “Pure market entrepreneurs earn their fortunes by selling new, better or cheaper products on the market and do so without any assistance from the government. In other words, a pure market entrepreneur’s ability to earn money is directly related to their ability to please customers. This is in contrast to the political entrepreneur whose success is based on their ability to lobby and influence politicians who then use the power of the state to assist the political entrepreneur in the earning of a fortune. The actions of political entrepreneurs are incompatible with equality before the law as they are granted privileges unattainable to others.”
“In contrast to the pure market entrepreneur who must satisfy the consumer to obtain large amounts of wealth, political entrepreneurs obtain their fortunes by using the power of the state. This is done in a myriad of ways, including subsidizations or bailouts which amount to transfers of wealth from the masses to the connected few, or the creation of regulations and laws, which benefit established firms at the expense of potential new entrants. A further blatant, but sometimes overlooked way that political entrepreneurs obtain their wealth is by using government to pass and enforce laws to ban the sale of entire classes of goods,” said AoI.
Examples of that in manufactured housing are found in the reports linked below.
That noted, AoI continued, after the linked report below.
“Some may think that the existence of political entrepreneurs justifies taxes on the rich, but a much better solution would be to eliminate the ability of governments to enrich the political entrepreneurial class in the first place. For it is not the rich per se that are the problem, but the ability to get rich by using the power of the state instead of by serving the needs of others. Furthermore, increased taxation just puts more money in the hands of the very politicians who have proved competent at enriching their cronies, but inept at helping the poor and middle classes.” While the phrasing and terminology often change, depending on the source, the principles AoI outlined are very much in keeping with what James A. Schmitz Jr, or those who promote the notion of Iron Triangles, have repeatedly stated.
AoI said that in a “free-market society, void of political entrepreneurs, would still have rich people and wealth inequality. But the important thing to recognize is that the disparity between rich and poor would be less obvious in a free-market society, than in a society where political entrepreneurs dominate.”
While antitrust is important, there are potentially other legal tools, such as RICO or Hobbs Act, when applicable, that could be used to not only help curb abuses by big brands, but also put some bad actors into prison where some belong.
The challenge at present is that the corporate giants are so big, and their ability to manipulate politicians and regulators are so pronounced, that it will likely take serious public pushback with lawmakers to hold the giants accountable. See the report linked below for details.
The negative reports are often connected with firms that get financial support from Warren Buffett connected nonprofits.
While it is often true that the controversy-connected MHI member brands routinely back Democrats, there are obvious exceptions. One of those that is attracting serious notice is the report linked below. Here at MHProNews, we aim at following the money trail and the evidence, and report accordingly.
Programming Notice: The latest national production data is in. MHProNews will add a link to that report, linked below, later today.
Update: 6.29 PM ET.
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By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for MHProNews.com.
Tony earned a journalism scholarship and earned numerous awards in history and in manufactured housing.
For example, he earned the prestigious Lottinville Award in history from the University of Oklahoma, where he studied history and business management. He’s a managing member and co-founder of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.
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