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Virus exposes government monopolies

Why is competition better for society than monopolies? Reports expect the dozen or so companies racing to develop a COVID-19 vaccine to succeed in record time. Why so fast now? Political pressure for a cure unleashed competition. But in many areas competition remains prohibited from improving our lives. Examples:

Schools are operated by legal education monopolies. Those monopolies seize the public’s money to operate the monopoly schools. Unsatisfied customers (parents) can’t get their money back to spend at another school, perpetuating the monopoly. Now the monopoly government schools are providing no education, citing COVID-19. They don’t return the money, so most people have no alternative.

When COVID-19 appeared, the CDC and WHO creaked into action. Their directives and pronouncements proved not only wrong but counterproductive. Their actions were glacial. They had a monopoly on health policy, and no incentive to perform at the needed level.

The COVID-19 situation has highlighted that some mega-institutions like government-controlled education and health care aren’t nimble enough to serve the public good. More, nimble enterprises should be encouraged to provide essential services like education and health care. No need to eradicate the CDC, Medicare or school boards. Competition would put them out of business.

Maurice Emmer

Aspen


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