I Hope to Someday Own a Monopoly

I started my evening today with a little light reading – the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Previous to delving into the actual text, I perused the Wikipedia article and would like to briefly touch upon some thoughts.

My Reason for Working

I work solely for my own gain. I really don’t care at all if what I do helps somebody else or not; I only care if the work is financially profitable for me or not. I do not expect any handouts or unsolicited help from anybody, and I do not give these things either. I do not ask for the fruits of another man’s labor, I purchase the fruits of his labor with the fruit of my labor.

I grew up hearing the mantra “Work hard, play hard” constantly from my father. I also always heard my father say “You are going to work every moment of every day of your life, so you are either going to work for your family for free, or you will work for somebody else for pay.” I have not yet found a possible third outcome to my days – I am either working for my family for free around the house, or I am working for somebody else for pay.

To that end, at some point in my future, I fully intend on owning a business that completely disrupts at least one industry. In that business, I intend to make as much profit as possible. I use the words “own”, “make”, and “profit” explicitly for the connotations that they possess; “Own” is for the fact that my business will be the fruit of my labor, and exist solely for my benefit. “Make” is used because my business will create its worth, instead of leeching off of the success of others as a parasite. I use “profit” because profit alone is what will drive my business. I, and by extension my business, will not allow anything to stand in our way; We will overcome, sidestep, or ignore any obstacle, any person, any law that gets in-between me and my profit. The fruit of my labor is mine and mine alone – To do with what I, and I alone, will.

Monopolies

Everything that I have read where the view that monopolies are bad is held, has used the argument that monopolies are bad because they hurt the consumer. This belief holds that a monopoly can charge a higher price than is fair for a good or service, and that a monopoly no longer has to be efficient as they can directly influence supply levels.

This is a crock of shit. If there is only one company that makes a particular good, or provides a particular service, consumers always have the option of “voting with their dollars.” If a good or service is over priced, then the market is ripe for a competing business to undercut the incumbent and disrupt the industry. If a company no longer has any incentive to be efficient, again, the market is ripe for a competitor to spring up and drive competition.

All arguments for the viewpoint of monopolies being bad however are based on the assumption that the business exists only to provide a good or service as cheaply as possible to the consumer base. This is simply not true; a business should exist for the sole purpose of squeezing every cent of profit possible out of the consumer base. It is for exactly that reason that I strive to somebody own a monopoly – that is where the profits are the greatest.

Jiving with the FOSS Ideals

I did struggle for some time making this belief jive with my wholehearted belief in free-as-in-freedom software. I have found a way to rationalize believing in completely free and unrestricted capitalism with free software in my own mind. Using very permissive licensing, such as the MIT or LGPL licensing, it possible to make these two ideals mesh. A permissive licensing scheme allows each consumer who legally obtains the good (or code, or application, or program) in some manner to do whatever they wish with the good that they have obtained. This extremely permissive scheme is the exact mechanism that drives competition. If I have a customer purchase a software library from me, and then start re-selling modified versions, by the virtue of making as much profit as possible, I am incentivized to make my library better, cheaper, something in order to get consumers to “vote with their dollars” for my product over my competitor’s. I don’t believe that a restrictive copyleft license, such as the GPL, allows a free market to flourish. I hold the belief that for the reasoning outline above, such a licensing scheme stagnates the market. I would be very interested in hearing other opinions on this point however. You cannot learn unless your current beliefs are challenged.

Conclusion

I sincerely hope that I someday earn the opportunity to practice what I preach (running my own business). I also hope that when I reflect on my life in my last seconds, that I can be look back without regret and know that I always acted in line with my ethics. I recognize the inherent selfishness in my beliefs and I contend that nobody and nothing other than myself (and those that I hold dear) should matter to me. These are my beliefs, and you are welcome and encouraged to disagree with them and hold your own beliefs. Just please do not attempt to force-feed your beliefs to me; I will however entertain civil discussion.