I propose the following as an example of what is wrong with the so-called free enterprise system:
Like many people who used PC’s for decades, I switched to Mac later on. Ok. I was somewhat horrified by how reverent Mac users and question-answerers were about “If it’s Mac, it’s right,” but otherwise it worked fine for me.
Then one day I sent a very important email that had its attachment in the middle of document and what I wanted to say about it below the attachment. Looked fine on my Mac: “Here’s this document, blah, blah blah.” Then the document. Then “Here’s what I urgently need you to do.” EXCEPT: The person I sent it to is using a PC, so all she gets is the “Here’s the document, blah, blah, blah,” followed by the document, but NO “Here’s what I need urgently you to do”!
How many decades anyone claim that Apple and Microsoft “compete in a way that benefits the consumer” when they can’t even manage to agree how to send and attachment back and forth without completely screwing it up?
How many times do we run up against competing companies who don’t seem to mind failing to do what they’re supposed to, as long as every other company’s just as lousy at as they are, or, better yet, if they can blame the other company?
Anyone who as ever flown anywhere understands that’s the way the airlines work. Had a miserable experience on Delta? Fly American! Then who will you turn after your next miserable experience? You won’t care. You’ll accept the fact that you’ll show up two hours before the flight in order to be treated like excess baggage, at best, and eventually you’ll get where you’re going. Eventually.
The point being that more often than not what we get is the lowest common denominator. If we need these companies to cooperate minimally with each other and not have Windows cut off the whole point of an important message while Mac and Windows happily blame each other, then we’re really in trouble.
The “market decides.” What a parody! Why is it to the financial benefit of either party to devote serious resources to interfacing well with each other? It isn’t. Economically, it makes no sense for them spend more than is absolutely necessary to interface with each other. Since it’s easy enough to blame the other guy and both system work equally badly, what is the marketplace incentive for the to improve the way they work together? They can both be happily lousy. Much less expensive. This is not cynical, it’s simple economics.
Maybe you’ll build a computer from a kit in your garage or use a Linux operating system, but you’ll still end up having to interface with Apple and Microsoft and they will not be kind to you.
Is this really the best economic system that humans can come up with? That’s what I’d call cynical.
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