Sowell has a lot of excellent analysis on other subjects, but here he goes off the rails. Regardless of whether academics redefine words to serve their
own agendas, the fact remains that the "free" market is a vapid concept. Sowell dismisses the oligopolistic control exerted by a few corporations in mature
market sectors because consumers are supposedly free to shop elsewhere. His critique of Galbraith is beyond shallow. Oligopolies and monopolies do
wield real power over the market.
Take automobiles for example. All of them are made in similar categories and sell for similar prices in those categories. Their quality also moves in tune
across all producers. Yes, that's right, Toyota, Ford, etc. all make the same shit and cut corners like there is no tomorrow. Take a look at the engines made
by VW. So much for the vaunted German engineering. There is clear pressure on the producers in the car market to engage the same quality reductions
because consumers do not have any choice. Not cutting corners means less profit for any car company and there is no penalty for cutting corners. Sowell
is under the delusion that consumers will drive price reductions in this market. BS. They have no pricing control beyond what the oligopoly chooses to
afford them. Clearly, there is some basic control since consumers cannot afford million dollar cars. But consumers are not given the choice of paying 5,000
dollars for a 40,000 dollar car. There is no rapid turnover of car producers. The period of competition was early in the 1900s when cars started to be produced.
By the 1950s most car manufacturers were consumed by a few main players.
Free market koolaid drinkers are always in denial about the natural formation of oligopolies and even monopolies in their precious free market. They seem
to lack a basic understanding of species dynamics. They advocate the law of the jungle but then expect a harmonious orchestra of self-regulation. What
inanity. As in the jungle, the predators will dominate and in the case of real human markets, the predators consume all the less predatory species. The precious
market is an arena for power and politics. Consumers are just a substrate and do not steer the evolution of markets. Transitional periods such as the adoption
of new technology are not an example of consumer control. It is the loss of control by producers of outdated products. But as with cars, eventually new
or made-over old producers reestablish control.
Instead of romanticizing corporate power, the state power skeptics need to keep their eyes on the prize. The coercive power of government is real and
a serious problem. But it is not some nebulous force and it is their vaunted corporations that typically corrupt government to use its power. We see this
with Pfizer and Moderna and their insane profits generated through government coercion. Placing faith in unelected boards of directors while pissing on
elected government is simply moronic. Here Russia is a good example. Thanks to being the dominant force in the Russian economy, the Russian
government is able to crack the whip over the oligarchs instead of being their whore. By contrast, the US government is a used condom for the US
kleptocracy which puppet masters the deep state. Americans can vote until Hell freezes over and will exert no control over their economic fate.
Meanwhile, "oppressed" Russians will vote in a government that actually serves their interests. No matter the failings and limitations, this is on a whole
other plane compared to the "exceptional beacon of humanity" the USA.