Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

On campus: “The Monopoly Myth: The Case of Standard Oil”

30 March 2009

The Monopoly Myth
The Case of Standard Oil

8:15pm, April 2nd, 2009 – Jimenez Room – Stamp Student Union
Directions and campus map here, and free parking is available in Lot 1:

Who: Alex Epstein, analyst at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights

What: “The Monopoly Myth: The Case of Standard Oil” In this talk Epstein argues against antitrust law by illustrating the case of Standard Oil’s legal and moral rise to market dominance. A Q&A will follow.

Description: Most of us were taught in school that laissez-faire capitalism was tried in the 1800s—and failed. Without government regulations and antitrust law, we learned, businessmen used “anti-competitive” tactics to become giant, unchallengeable monopolies. The most famous monopoly was John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Trust, which supposedly used its “market power” to squelch innovative competitors and jack up consumer prices at will.

But did this really happen? Did laissez-faire really fail? No, argues Alex Epstein of the Ayn Rand Center. In “The Monopoly Myth: The Case of Standard Oil,” Epstein will tell the real story of Rockefeller’s rise to market dominance—and explain how his success was the result not of shady practices, but of his company’s incredible ability to bring the cheapest, best oil to millions of Americans.

Epstein will argue that the case of Standard Oil raises many questions about Americans’ commonly held beliefs on monopolies, competition and government. Is antitrust law really necessary to protect us against monopolies and promote competition? Was the government right to punish Microsoft for “monopolization,” and is it justified in investigating Google and Yahoo for “anti-competitive” behavior? Epstein will address these questions and more in his 45-minute talk, followed by a question-and-answer period.

Admission: FREE. Open to students and the public

Bio: Alex Epstein has a BA in philosophy from Duke University and is an analyst focusing on business issues at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights.

Please RSVP to the facebook event:



4 March 2009

by Luis Mazariegos

Can RNC Chairman Michael Steele turn the Republican Party’s image around with a hip-hop makeover?

Recently, Steele promised an “off the hook” marketing blitz that would apply core conservative principles to “urban-suburban hip-hop settings” (whatever that may mean).

He cemented his path by calling the stimulus plan “bling bling” for Democrats the other day. I kid you not.

Though on the surface this may all seem a tad ridiculous, there might be something worthwhile here.

It’s no secret that the Republican Party is trying to distance itself from the George W. Bush era – and with good reason. Bush’s spending choices and war in Iraq have made him unpopular among certain blocs of conservatives, such as those who value fiscal responsibility over everything else. 

Not only that, but the Republican’s loss last election showed that unless they can appeal to younger voters and minorities, the future won’t hold better results.

And though culturally the Republican Party and hip-hop may seem miles apart, the similarities in ideology are striking.

Yes, rappers are against gun legislation and distrusting of big government’s ability to help people, hallmarks of conservatism. But most importantly, rappers are, above all, capitalists. There just aren’t very many socialist rappers. “Share the wealth” will never become a hip-hop catchphrase like “get that dough” is. It seems that hip-hop is, in reality, permeated by conservative or maybe more precisely liberterian ideals.

So yes, Michael Steele has not handled it quite gracefully. His comments mostly drew ridicule and sharp criticism. Comedian Stephen Colbert mockingly challenged Steele to a rap battle. Democratic strategist Brad Woodhouse said that  “with gaffes and an attitude like this [Steele will] just lead the [GOP] into another drubbing at the polls

In truth, calling the stimulus package “bling bling” is an oversimplification if not a bit sophomoric. But it does, to an extent, get the right idea across to a certain few people.

And it’s this kind of language, if done correctly and by the right person, that could end up attracting just the right demographics to win an election.

Vote out Edwards!

3 October 2008

Congress has sold us up the river.

Our dear Congresswoman Donna Edwards cast vote number two hundred, seventeen in support of the bailout. I exhort area voters to bail her out — of a job.

House Republicans show resolve, reveal they have a collective spine, say “F. you!” to President Bush

29 September 2008

At least for now.

For the first time in recent memory, I am less ashamed of my remaining a registered Republican. Suggests anything the complete impotence of a two-term president as clearly as his party’s two-to-one rejection of his “necessary” mega-policy? I think not.

Maybe I’m a terrible person for it, but I’m pretty excited to see that the Dow fell more than four hundred points after the House Republcans — and ninety-four courageous Democrats — stood up against corporate socialism.

(Cross-posted at Nathancontramundi.)