What Are The Search Results When You Google ‘Antitrust’?
ALL
In Pursuit of Wealth: The Moral Case for Finance
by Yaron Brook | September 30, 2017
Inequality Doesn't Matter If We’re All Paid According to the Value We Create
by Don Watikins | October 18, 2016
Who Cares about Inequality?
by Don Watikins | April 28, 2016
Equal Is Unfair: America’s Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality
by Don Watkins | April 19, 2016
Economic Inequality Complaints Are Just A Cover For Anti-Rich Prejudice
by Don Watikins | April 14, 2016
Equality of Opportunity Doesn’t Exist in America — and That’s a Good Thing
by Don Watikins | April 06, 2016
Inherit The Wind . . . And Not Much Else
by Don Watikins | April 05, 2016
Equal is Unfair: America’s Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality
by Don Watkins | October 20, 2015
Religion in America
by The Editors | December 05, 2014
Religion vs. Freedom
by Onkar Ghate | December 03, 2014
Debate: “Inequality: Should We Care?”
by Yaron Brook | May 08, 2014
Economic Inequality: Who Cares?
by The Editors | March 25, 2014
Our Poverty Problem?
by Don Watkins | March 11, 2014
Is Inequality Fair?
by Yaron Brook | March 05, 2014
Government tries to do too much: Opposing view
by Don Watkins | January 26, 2014
“You didn’t build that,” conservative style
by Steve Simpson | December 09, 2013
Why Do 1.4 Million Americans Work At Walmart, With Many More Trying To?
by Doug Altner | November 27, 2013
Atlas Shrugged Is A Book About Pride In One’s Work, And The Success That Results
by Steve Simpson | November 08, 2013
Bernie Madoff, Steve Jobs, and Wall Street Greed
by Don Watkins | September 26, 2013
Justice Department should let US Airways & American Airlines merger proceed
by Tom Bowden | August 16, 2013
What Are The Search Results When You Google ‘Antitrust’?
by Tom Bowden | April 18, 2013
To Be Born Poor Doesn’t Mean You’ll Always Be Poor
by Yaron Brook | April 12, 2013
We Should Be Embarrassed by the Sequester Debate
by Yaron Brook | March 20, 2013
“Give Back” Is One of the World's Most Impoverishing Commands
by Yaron Brook | March 12, 2013
Capitalism in No Way Created Poverty, It Inherited It
by Yaron Brook | February 25, 2013
3 crucial lessons Ayn Rand can teach us today
by Yaron Brook | February 02, 2013
Capitalism without Guilt
by Yaron Brook | January 21, 2013
President Obama Duels With Ayn Rand Over What Makes America Great
by Don Watkins | October 29, 2012
Why Ayn Rand’s Absence From Last Thursday’s Debate Benefits Big Government
by Yaron Brook | October 15, 2012
The Virtue of Employee Layoffs
by Yaron Brook | September 06, 2012
Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged: A Paean to American Liberty
by Don Watkins | August 17, 2012
President Obama vs. My Grandfather
by Don Watkins | July 30, 2012
The Dog-Eat-Dog Welfare State Is Lose-Lose
by Don Watkins | July 12, 2012
Changing the Debate: How to Move from an Entitlement State to a Free Market
by Don Watkins | July 02, 2012
Private Equity Firms Want Acquisitions To Profit, Not Fold
by Doug Altner | June 05, 2012
Opposing view: Celebrate private equity
by Don Watkins | May 29, 2012
The “On Your Own” Economy
by Don Watkins | March 09, 2012
What's Really Wrong with Entitlements
by Don Watkins | February 21, 2012
Happy Birthday, Ayn Rand — Why Are You Still So Misunderstood?
by Don Watkins | February 02, 2012
America Before The Entitlement State
by Don Watkins | November 18, 2011
How Did Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged Predict an America Spinning Out of Control?
by Onkar Ghate | October 31, 2011
What We Owe Steve Jobs
by Don Watkins | October 06, 2011
What’s Missing From The Budget Debate
by Don Watkins | July 12, 2011
Does America Need Ayn Rand or Jesus?
by Onkar Ghate | June 29, 2011
When It Comes to Wealth Creation, There Is No Pie
by Yaron Brook | June 14, 2011
It’s Time To Kill The “Robin Hood” Myth
by Yaron Brook | May 06, 2011
Using Ayn Rand's Values to Create Competitive Advantage in Business
by John Allison | April 04, 2011
In Defense of Finance
by Yaron Brook | February 15, 2011
The Tea Party Will Fail — Unless it Fully Embraces Individualism as a Moral Ideal
by Tom Bowden | January 21, 2011
How About Tax Reparations for the Rich?
by Don Watkins | January 18, 2011
The Guilt Pledge
by Don Watkins | September 22, 2010
How To Succeed In Business: Really Try
by Don Watkins | September 13, 2010
The U.S. Anti-Business Epidemic
by Don Watkins | August 17, 2010
Atlas Shrugged’s Timeless Moral: Profit-Making Is Virtue, Not Vice
by Yaron Brook | July 20, 2010
Capitalism: Who Needs It — Ayn Rand and the American System
by Yaron Brook | June 09, 2010
Apple vs. GM: Ayn Rand Knew the Difference. Do You?
by Don Watkins | March 02, 2010
Commercialism Only Adds to Joy of the Holidays
by Onkar Ghate | December 18, 2009
Why is Ayn Rand Still Relevant: Atlas Shrugged and Today’s World
by Yaron Brook | August 10, 2009
The Corrupt Critics of CEO Pay
by Yaron Brook | May 2009
America’s Unfree Market
by Yaron Brook | May 2009
Energy at the Speed of Thought: The Original Alternative Energy Market
by Alex Epstein | Summer 2009
Is Rand Relevant?
by Yaron Brook | March 14, 2009
Stop Blaming Capitalism for Government Failures
by Yaron Brook | November 13, 2008
From Flat World To Free World
by Yaron Brook | June 26, 2008
Vindicating Capitalism: The Real History of the Standard Oil Company
by Alex Epstein | Summer 2008
The Right Vision Of Health Care
by Yaron Brook | January 08, 2008
Deep-Six the Law of the Sea
by Tom Bowden | November 20, 2007
The Influence of Atlas Shrugged
by Yaron Brook | October 09, 2007
The Morality of Moneylending: A Short History
by Yaron Brook | Fall 2007
Say “No Way!” to “Say on Pay”
by Yaron Brook | May 22, 2007
Atlas Shrugged — America's Second Declaration of Independence
by Onkar Ghate | March 01, 2007
Pay Is Company’s Prerogative
by Yaron Brook | January 08, 2007
Religion and Morality
by Onkar Ghate | October 18, 2006
Net Neutrality vs. Internet Freedom
by Alex Epstein | August 16, 2006
Why Are CEOs Paid So Much?
by Elan Journo | May 11, 2006
To Outsource or to Stagnate?
by Onkar Ghate | August 01, 2004
Ayn Rand's Ideas — An Introduction
by Onkar Ghate | June 02, 2003
Capitalists vs. Crooks
by Elan Journo | July 22, 2002
Forgotten Heroes of 9/11
by Onkar Ghate | May 17, 2002
Religion vs. America
by Leonard Peikoff | 1986
The Sanction of the Victims
by Ayn Rand | November 21, 1981
Egalitarianism and Inflation
by Ayn Rand | 1974
The Moratorium on Brains
by Ayn Rand | November 14, 1971
What Is Capitalism?
by Ayn Rand | November 19, 1967
POV: What Is Capitalism?
by admin | November-December 1965
Is Atlas Shrugging?
by Ayn Rand | April 19, 1964
The Fascist New Frontier
by Ayn Rand | December 16, 1962
America’s Persecuted Minority: Big Business
by Ayn Rand | December 17, 1961
The “New Intellectual”
by Ayn Rand | May 15, 1961
Capitalism vs. Communism
by Ayn Rand | 1961

MORE FROM THE BLOG:

Government And Business in Voice for Reason
Government & BusinessCapitalism

What Are The Search Results When You Google ‘Antitrust’?

by Tom Bowden | April 18, 2013 | Investor’s Business Daily

Yielding to the European Union’s threat of massive fines, Google will reportedly change the way it displays search results and, in some cases, even include links to rival search engines.

Earlier this year, the Internet giant capitulated to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission after a 19-month investigation, promising to change its advertising practices.

How do the world’s most powerful governments get away with treating Google like a villain? After all, this is a company that has built a reputation for improving people’s lives in a thousand ways.

What Are The Search Results When You Google 'Antitrust'? [Investor's Business Daily]

Just ask the millions of visitors who type keywords into Google’s legendary search engine, or who use the many other services — email, maps, videos, travel arrangements, comparison shopping, books, and the like — that Google offers for free. Yes, for free.

The answer lies buried in the unavoidable vagaries of antitrust law — an irrational regime that grants competitive grumblings the exalted status of legal injuries, then empowers government enforcers to override market outcomes.

In Google’s case, the grumblings are coming from rivals and advertisers — and when their complaints are boiled down to essentials, they’re angry that Google pursues its own profits without regard to the welfare or viability of competitors.

When rivals complain of “search bias,” for example, what they mean is that Google’s search results display the company’s own services — such as Google Maps, Google Travel, or Google Shopping — in prominent positions, to enhance traffic at those sites.

But why would Google do otherwise? Like any other business, it’s trying to make money for its shareholders. Since more than 95% of its revenues come from advertising, Google stands to gain by attracting more users.

Likewise, when advertisers complain about their contracts with Google, what they mean is that Google makes it difficult for them to transfer ad campaigns from Google over to rival platforms, or to compare the various platforms’ efficiency.

But why would Google act differently? Businesses don’t succeed by bending over backward to make it easier for rivals to take away their customers.

It hardly needs explaining why Google’s practices might generate frustration and resentment in certain quarters — that’s to be expected in the hurly burly of the marketplace.

But what’s not so obvious is how such resentments can be confused with genuine legal injuries that merit the attention of government prosecutors. The explanation is to be found in antitrust laws that actually make it illegal for a company like Google to maintain a laser focus on its own corporate self-interest.

If read literally, the Sherman Act of 1890 (and the European Union’s legal equivalents) prohibit virtually every action a profit-seeking business needs to survive.

For example, any price a company might set can be legally condemned — as “predatory” if it’s lower than the competition, “monopolistic” if higher, or “collusive” if the same.

The laws’ astonishing breadth allows prosecutors, regulators, and judges to pose as kindly protectors of business, reading the laws “reasonably” so as to blunt their draconian terms.

But exactly which practices will be permitted and which penalized? It’s usually impossible to know in advance.

The resulting omnipresent threat of antitrust prosecution forces companies like Google to do business with one eye on the bottom line and the other on their antitrust foes.

Companies must perpetually adjust to the latest threats, pronouncements, and decisions emanating from the worldwide antitrust establishment.

And to complicate matters, today’s victim may be tomorrow’s attacker, if a rival’s success makes it vulnerable to antitrust pressure.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Google spent more than $18 million on lobbying last year (about 23 times as much as it spent in 2006), making it the eighth-largest spender among companies in all industries (not counting the costs of dealing with foreign threats).

It now looks as if the EU’s threatened fines have been “traded” for concessions designed to help Google’s competitors.

But before the shakedown, uh, settlement is finalized, Google must demonstrate how its changes will work, in a phase known ludicrously as “market testing,” during which those same competitors can lodge still more objections.

Interesting, isn’t it, how these things work out? Antitrust authorities threaten to inflict massive damage on the world’s most successful companies. Then the targets of these investigations, rather than litigate and risk disaster, simply cave in, “voluntarily” agreeing to change their business practices.

In this way, regulators — who, let’s face it, are just politicians without the charisma — deliver outcomes that those companies’ resentful rivals and customers could never earn on a free market.

Farther down this road, we can foresee an antitrust-hobbled Google that behaves more like a regulated public utility than an innovative tech dynamo. Is that the future we want?

About The Author

Tom Bowden

Analyst and Outreach Liaison, Ayn Rand Institute