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RE: GPL & commercial software, the critical distinction (fwd)

Petro wrote:


> Other than the Railroads, which have already been shown to
> be a government CREATED monopoly, how was the Aircraft 
> Industry a monopoly? The GARMENT INDUSTRY?
> Come on Jim, "Put Up Or Shut Up".

Jim can look after himself, but the aircraft industry is certainly
monopolistic.  There are only 2 serious players in the market for large
long-haul airliners, Airbus (explicitly founded and subsidised by
government)  and Boeing (probably now turning a real profit  but in the
past cross-subsidised from military spending). Whether or not either of
these firms would now exist without government subsidy is unknowable.
Whether or not the monopolistic situation would exist if there had been
no government subsidy is also unknowable.  

I do have trouble with the idea of the garment industry being
monopolistic. About 2 miles from where I'm typeing this, in  Whitechapel
and Spitalfields in the East End of London, street after street is
packed with small sweatshops, "import export" businesses, tiny fashion


>>All working for about 5 or 6 companies who actlualy marketed and
>> distributed the items. Just get a Dallas Texas phone book for
>> that period (it's a distribution hub for the clothing/garment
>>  even today).

> That is still 5 or 6 companies in competition.

It looks as if the only monopolies you recognise are global ones where
one big company supplies most of the market for some good, worldwide.
At that level there are damn few monopolies - MS, Boeing, the Murdoch
empire. But a monopolistic situation develops when one supplier, or a
group of suppliers in cartel can control the market in some locality.
Like the breweries in Britain a few years back - there were (and are)
hundreds of breweries but the "big six" had carved up large areas of the
country between them. So if you went to a bar in one area you got
Watney's beer, in another, Bass.   

The real problem with monopoly or cartel is not high prices - many
monopolies choose to charge low prices - it is lack of freedom.  A
monopolisitic supplier of some good has a measure of political power.
They can make people behave in ways they might not otherwise behave. A
monopolisitic employer of labour has *huge* political power.