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View Diary: The Myth of the "Consensual" Marketplace (124 comments)

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  •  We're bamboozled by analogy. (1+ / 0-)
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    Troubadour

    The mental picture conjured by ideological talk of how capitalism works is most often based on the assumption that we're all working and living in a pre-industrial town square marketplace.  A market where barriers to entry -- the ability to set up your own stall and compete -- are low, and there are several purveyors of everything you'd want to select from.

    Of course that hasn't been true of capitalism for a couple of centuries, now, if it ever was an accurate description.  The imposition of that falsehood as to how things work and it's gauzy picture of the fairness of the marketplace and the direct reward of personal initiative is paralysing to any argument for apportioning "market space" by collective, social action.

    The truth of "the marketplace" is an inherit dynamic of capitalism to reduce the number of competitors by various market-based and non-market, nefarious means to a couple- or three providers -- an oligopoly of companies offering a good or service in a "mature" capitalist economy like ours -- that act more-or-less in concert in their mutual interest. Therefore:

    Your options are reduced to agreeing to the terms set by businesses, or else simply doing without whatever is being sold or offered due to the absence of viable alternatives.
    In the political sphere, this is defeat by analogy for our side, since this truth of mature capitalism has to be pointed out and explained every time we try to claim economic fairness for those of us that have to live & work & buy, oh, say health insurance, or an airline ticket.

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