Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...


Everything but tech support.

2158, 05 Sep 17

No Substitute for Competition

Still relevant after Andrew Carnegie wrote it in 1889.

The price which society pays for the law of competition, like the price it pays for cheap comforts and luxuries, is also great; but the advantages of this law are also greater still, for it is to this law that we owe our wonderful material development, which brings improved conditions in its train. But, whether the law be benign or not, we must say of it, as we say of the change in the conditions of men to which we have referred: It is here; we cannot evade it; no substitutes for it have been found; and while the law may be sometimes hard for the individual, it is best for the race, because it insures the survival of the fittest in every department. We accept and welcome, therefore, as conditions to which we must accommodate ourselves, great inequality of environment, the concentration of business, industrial and commercial, in the hands of a few, and the law of competition between these, as being not only beneficial, but essential for the future progress of the race.


2158, 05 September 2017


  1. Kevin Scheunemann

    Liberalism stands as an enemy to humanity on obvious concept. I really enjoyed the video of California liberals congratulating their socialist dream state in action, N. Korea on the hydrogen bomb.

  2. dad29

    It may be relevant, Owen, but read his last sentence again.  Do you REALLY ‘accept and welcome’ the ‘concentration of business…in the hands of a few’?

    OK, then:  WHICH ‘few’?

    Carnegie was merely doing exactly what Belling mentions often:  self-justification.  He wasn’t right–and he knew it–so he threw a high hard one, hoping for a brush-back.

    And by the way:  Carnegie’s industry, steel, doesn’t seem to relish competition from the Red Chinese, does it?  All the PRC wanted to do was ‘concentrate….business…in the hands of its own few,’ ya’know.

  3. Owen

    You are right, to a degree, Dad29. It was self justification as it was written soon after he attained wealth. But it is also true that some concentration is both necessary and desirable. That is a fundamental feature of capitalism is that capital (wealth) must be concentrated and then applied to ventures and enterprises to create something valuable that will grow more wealth. Society is the beneficiary of that value creation.

    So he is correct that concentration is necessary and that we do “accept and welcome” it as the necessary oil to our economic engine. From there, we get into questions of “who” and “how much.” I think we can all agree that we don’t want concentration into a single person or small group, because that undermines competition. We also don’t want wealth concentrated in the hands of the corrupt or criminal, which is why we have a system of laws to punish fraud, corruption, etc. But in the end, everyone who enjoys the benefits of our modern access to goods and services has already accepted and welcomed the concentration of wealth. The alternative is equal distribution, and we’ve seen how that story ends.

  4. Le Roi du Nord

    Well, the Foxconn deal certainly shows us how politicians can take the wealth of many (the taxpayers of the state) and concentrate it into the hands of the few, without any guarantees that in the long run that action will be beneficial or essential to the future progress of the race.  More likely that deal will be to the fiscal and environmental detriment of the many and their children and grandchildren.

  5. Jason

    Le Rio…

    >Well, the Foxconn deal certainly shows us how politicians can take the wealth of many (the taxpayers of the state) and concentrate it into the hands of the few…

    And just a couple of weeks ago you stated this…

    “If this prediction comes true it is a great thing for WI.  But I won’t count any chickens just yet”

    Your post today sure reads like you’re “counting chickens”.    Funny how you like to count only those chickens that support your skewed view of the world.

  6. Le Roi du Nord


    Note the qualifying phrase, “without any guarantees”.

    Indeed I do think this will be good if it turns out as promised originally, but now with the environmental give-aways and the lack of court of appeals involvement with any appeals process the the Foxconn deal looks more and more like a stinker.

  7. Paul

    “Three 500 year storms in a year.”

    You have no credibility.

  8. Le Roi du Nord

    petite paul:

    At least I admitted my mistake, apologized, AND donated $10 to the Houston Red Cross in your name,  whereas you just keep multiplying your goofs.

  9. Paul

    You lied about it being a typo.

  10. dad29

    The alternative is equal distribution, and we’ve seen how that story ends.

    You are right, there are things about which we can all agree.  The above is not one of them, as you have created a false dichotomy.

    Let’s go backwards a bit.  You contend with Carnegie that ‘in the hands of a few’ is a good thing (albeit you concede that defining “a few” might be a challenge.)  OK.  But the wealth of GE, IBM, Apple, Alphabet (etc.) is actually in the hands of many.  Millions of “many.”  One can argue that Jobs, Edison, Watson (et al) created all that wealth, but that’s not precisely true; in fact, all of them had to find “second-tier” financing, then “third”, and finally, go public to obtain the capital necessary for continuing growth.

    That ‘going public,’ or even second/third tier solicitations, is not obtaining from the hands of ‘the few.’  It’s ‘the many,’ which may have included your dad, or uncle as 401(k) or pension-fund holders, or IPO investors.  Right?

    So.  There is a long line of ‘alternative,’ not just ‘Capitalism or Socialism.’  And capital can–and often does–come from and return to ‘the many,’ albeit ‘the few’ may have had the ideas, drive, and ability to …ahhh…..capitalize on those assets.

  11. Le Roi du Nord

    And it took one of the “many” like me, that bought the Apple product I am typing on, to finance the wealth of the few.  Or the shareholders.

  12. Paul

    Fuck off, white supremacist troll.

  13. billphoto

    With all the advertising for Labor Day sales, end of the model year, bonus packages and more, I was really tempted to own a troll again but I was able to not succumb to the fancy jingles and promise of greatness if I just buy.  I’ll just say “you can look it up.”

    I have to wonder what Carnigie would say today.  The luxury lifestyle of the many has improved significantly since 1889 and progress in areas like healthcare and transportation would have to be astounding to an observer from 100 years ago.

  14. Jason

    >Note the qualifying phrase, “without any guarantees”.

    I don’t care about your little qualifiers – your actions speak louder than any double meaning qualifiers, and I’m not going to word parse with you further on it.  You have made many posts and linked to a couple of articles that speculate the Foxconn deal will cost more than needed to cover the package, and yet when an alternate and just as reliable source states the opposite, suddenly you want to wait and see.  Your actions show that you’re a hypocritical oaf who only wants to read what confirms your bias.  A classic example of what’s wrong with the political spectrum on ALL sides.

    In other words, you’re an average dumb american adult.

  15. Paul

    Houston has had three 500-year rain events in the past year.  You can look it up.
    Now that alone doesn’t mean those 3 events were cause by CC/GW, but should give planners pause when developing in areas that would be flooded by the increase in storms of larger magnitude and intensity.   Sticking your head in the sand won’t make those floods go away.
    This is not a typo.  The white supremacist troll was caught lying.

  16. Le Roi du Nord

    Sorry j, but I have always said that IF the Foxconn deal works as promised I’m all for it.  However every passing day provides more evidence that it won’t: why bypass the traditions judicial process for appeals??; why grant all the waivers from environmental regulation??  Why tilt the field in favor of one deal at the expense of the whole state?  The articles I linked also questioned the feasibility of the deal as proposed.  All taxpayers, right or left, should want the deal that best serves the taxpayers of WI as a whole, not just a foreign company with a track record of breaking promises.

    petite paul:  I apologized, and made the donation.  Move on.

  17. Paul

    You have no credibility. Fuck off.

  18. billphoto

    Please don’t feed the troll.

  19. Jason

    >Sorry j, but I have always said that IF the Foxconn deal works as promised I’m all for it.

    As I said previously, I’m not going to parse words with you.  Your actions speak louder than any fool words that fall out of your mouth.  How many posts linking to articles that support your skewed hypothesis, vs a single “I’m not going to count my chickens” for an article that doesn’t support you.  That’s what makes up my mind that you’re a hypocritical oaf just like 90 of average Joe American’s commenting about politics lately – on ALL sides of the political spectrum.

  20. Le Roi du Nord


    Since you and I have never met your claim about my actions is meaningless.  You just assume from your skewed position that you know how I act.  Big assumption on your part with no facts to back it up.


  21. Jason

    Average Joe,

    Another swing and miss…. we have met… I have seen your actions.  Here on this website, you take action.  I’ve detailed how your actions have formed my low opinion of you.  I’ve also shown you how I and I’m sure many others have determined that you’re no different than the average schlep on facebook shouting their confirmation bias on the online version of the local street corner.

    I feel bad that you still don’t get it after I’ve responded three times about this in this discussion thread alone.  I feel bad not for you, but for me, as you are successfully fooling me into thinking you would comprehend what I’ve said.

  22. Paul

    Another L for the white nationalist troll.

  23. Le Roi du Nord


    “Here on this website, you take action”.  That is nonsense.  You are smarter than that.  And I doubt we’ve met.  Why would you meet a schlep like me?

  24. Jason

    Nice try, Le Roi du Average Joes, but I’m on to you now.  I know you’re smart enough to comprehend my statements.  You’re continuing to troll like trolls do.  Enjoy your last word, personally I would be embarrassed if it were mine, but hey, you own it.

  25. Paul

    You’d think when an Assemblyman pounds on a troll, the troll would be smart enough to tap out.

    But no.

  26. billphoto

    On topic: There must be some level of concentration of wealth and power where the line is crossed from capitalism to a dictatorship or some other form of monopolist control but where do we draw that line?

    I think Jason may have pounded the round peg in to the square hole.  I did waste some of my time examining the sources accompanied by ‘look it up’ and found a predominance of the Milwaukee Urinal which, if you look it up, sources a lot of material directly from the AP or indirectly from places like the Huffington Post, Southern Poverty Law Center and CNN.

    Given if you are only fed pig slop but told it is steak, when someone offered you steak, most likely the first response would be that’s pig slop, I’ll stick with my steak.  Parsing words, ignoring credible research or resorting to misrepresenting facts to outright lies are justifiable methods to continue the belief that pig slop is steak.

  27. dad29

    where do we draw that line?

    That, sir, is the soul of politics!!!

Pin It on Pinterest