Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Love of the Capitalist "Free Market" Except When You Lose

Trey Smith

Defenders of the capitalist free market love the inherent competition involved. In theory, businesses compete on equal footing to attract customers and the business that does the best job wins. It is the ultimate "survival of the fittest" mentality. Capitalists simply love the free market...except when they come out on the losing end. When this happens, the large corporate behemoths suddenly aren't so enamored with the system they champion -- they demand intervention by the government or courts.

A while back, the US Air Force was taking bids from Boeing and Airbus for a contract to supply refueling tankers. Airbus -- a French-based company -- won the bid. Did Boeing accept that, in this case, Airbus was the fittest? Hell no! They cried foul. Utilizing their lobbying arm, they pitched a royal fit. They applied so much pressure to lawmakers that -- surprise, surprise -- new bids were ordered. And, not surprisingly, they came out on top in Round 2.

Just yesterday news came out about a court ruling that impacts Amazon.com and IBM. Both submitted bids to build the cloud computing infrastructure for the NSA. The original bid was won by Amazon, but IBM filed a protest and bids were retaken. So, Amazon took the matter to court and a judge recently ruled that Amazon's original bid should carry the day. Undaunted, IBM plans to appeal.

Also yesterday, reports indicate that Japan Airlines -- who, in the past, has always purchased their airplanes from Boeing -- has decided to go with Airbus going forward. I don't imagine that Boeing will take this situation lying down. I won't be surprised at all to read a later report that, after much lobbying and possibly US government threats, Japan Airlines has a sudden change of heart!

You see, when it comes to the unwashed masses, survival of the fittest is the name of the game and fittest tends to be defined by those who possesses the most wealth and power. But out in the dog-eat-dog capitalist marketplace, the corporate monsters truly don't really believe in that mantra. Survival of the fittest is a-ok when your company is declared the fittest, but if you come out on the losing end in a fair fight, then you go crying to mom and dad in the hope that they will "make things right" (i.e., allow you to win by intervention).

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