Economists’ Indifference, Straw Men, and the Costs of Regulating Inequality

I’ve been going back and forth with Frank Pasquale both at Madisonian and Jurisdynamics about economics, consumer welfare, the costs of inequality (and regulating it), and the ability of economics to provide useful insights where “social goods” are involved. At Jurisdynamics, Frank responds to my post on Apple’s business practices by asserting that my tunnel vision focus on consumer welfare ignores important justifications for government intervention like excessive vertical integration. While I argue that the economic literature universally accepts the notion that vertical integration, in most instances, is a procompetitive practice, Frank eloquently refuses to engage in the discussion on economic terms because those terms are not sufficiently “humanistic” (anecdotally citing this guy’s refusal to express his ideas in Rawlsian terms to a group of graduate students) and then levels this attack on economic analysis…

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