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Government Proposes in Effect to Put Itself in Charge of Apple Pricing

August 3, 2013 in Economics

By Hunter Lewis

This is yet another illustration of  why the US economy is in such deep trouble.

A federal judge found that Apple had violated anti-trust laws in its e-book arrangements with publishers. This was actually an attempt by publishers to regain control over their e-book pricing from retailers, Amazon in particular, and  ended when publishers signed  consent decrees with the government. This should be the end of the story but instead the government now wants to appoint a monitor who will review all Apple pricing for the next ten years.

What is not generally realized is that most government economic policies amount to price interference, manipulations, and controls. No economy can thrive without an honest and unmanipulated price system, as the Soviet Union demonstrated so vividly by collapsing. Yet we are at a moment in which our government wants to control more and more prices throughout the economy, now even wanting to control a leading technology company’s prices for a decade.

The government attempt to control more and more prices also feeds crony capitalism, because private interests whose prices will be controlled respond by trying to influence and if possible buy government officials. It would be surprising if  Apple did not  increase its presence in Washington considerably from now on.

The government anti-trust case against IBM marked the end of that company as a technology power house. In retrospect it was the moment to sell the company’s shares. But even then the government did not propose to insert a price “monitor”  inside the company for a decade.

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