Reply to post: What's surprising ...

'Uncarrier' T-Mobile US to un-carry $40m for bumpkin blower bunkum

Milton Silver badge

What's surprising ...

What's surprising ... is that so far no one has expressed much surprise. The same companies bleating about the virtues of dregulation, the free market knowing best, operating in the customer's interest etc etc etc are yet again found to be lying through their teeth and cheating customers in even the pettiest, and most childishly sordid ways.

The reason governments have to be fierce and fair regulators is the same reason that's been staring us all in the face since the South Sea Bubble: companies (almost all large institutions, in fact) do not have even the rudimentary personal decency of individuals, and rapidly develop behaviours that we would normally describe as psychopathic. The dilution of personal ethical awareness and responsibility that occurs around the boardroom table and among senior managers when their only goal is personal bonus and shareholder return absolutely guarantees that companies will behave as badly as they can get away with.

We have seen this only about 100,000 times in every conceivable industry for 300 years. It's not just tobacco, alcohol, auto, big pharma, internet—every single one of them will rapidly morph from the fancful guff of "Don't Be Evil" to "Rape the Customer in Every Possible Way" as they grow and become ever more entrenched in the un-balanced scorecard of shareholder value.

Regulation should assume that any loophole and dirty trick will be exploited if it is not fiercely policed, and the punishment for misbehaviour shouldn't be token fines: they should be existentially threatening, with criminal sanction of executives where justified.

Capitalists love to bray on about the virtues of competition, while doing everything they can to destroy it, to manipulate markets, to use lobbying to tilt the playing field against competitors, to buy favourable legislation from politicians, to use predatory pricing against rivals and to form cartels and monopolies whenever there's the faintest chance of getting away with it.

If you want a decent, balanced, open and truly competitive free market, then fair, tough, universally applied regulation is the only way to go. (Which is why plutocrats don't like it.)

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