Book Reviews

AuthorJonathan Rose
Published date01 June 1974
Date01 June 1974
DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1177/0003603X7401900228
Subject MatterBook Reviews
BOOK
REVIEWS
471
Mark
J.
Green, editor, The Monopoly Makers: Ralph Nader's
Study
Group Report on Regulation and Competition, New
York: Grossman Publishers (1973), 345 pp., $8.95.
In
his introduction to this book, Ralph Nader indicates
that
it
"is
the
third
in a series of studies on the political
economy of Corporate America
....
"1
In
general the book
details the adverse effects on public welfare of the policies
and decisions of various federal regulatory and executive
agencies. Basically the theme of the book, as the title implies,
is
that
these agencies
are
major contributors to the existence
of monopoly in the United States by virtue of their general
antipathy toward competition. However,
it
is important to
point out
that
the authors of this book do
not
consider the
commissioners and heads of these agencies to be a small band
of wilful people attempting to force
their
policies on recalci-
trant
industries. The thesis, as
further
developed, argues
that
the institutional deficiencies of administered regulation
and the firms
that
are
regulated by or deal with these agen-
cies
are
equally
important
as causative factors, and
that
these three forces
combine-or
in Nader's words, "the institu-
tionalized fusion of corporate desires with public bureauc-
racy"
2_to
produce the undesirable societal effects.
Chapter 1 is entitled, "Uncle Sam, Monopoly Man" and is
by Mark Green, who is Director of the Corporate Account-
ability Research Group. This chapter sets the stage
for
the
following chapters by raising the basic questions
that
are
dis-
cussed in more specific contexts in the subsequent chapters.
He begins by identifying the fundamental issue of the
nature
and extent of the government's role in a mixed economy. He
articulates the basic premise of the entire
book-the
efficacy
and desirability of competition. The
primary
themes of the
government as a creator and promoter of monopoly
and
of
1
THE
MONOPOLY
MAKERS:
RALPH
NADER'S
STUDY
GROUP
REPORT
ON REGULATION AND COMPETITION,
ix
(lVL
Green,
ed.
1973)
(herein-
after
THE
MONOPOLY
MAKERS).
2
THE
MONOPOLY
MAKERS,
supra
note
1,
at
x.
472
THE
ANTITRUST
BULLETIN
the institutional deficiencies of administered regulation
are
announced. Regarding the
latter
he discusses the lack of eco-
nomic rationale
for
much regulation and its deficiencies and
ill
effects in the contexts of
rate
regulation, control of entry,
mergers, efficiency
and
progressiveness. He concludes by say-
mg:
In
sum, one can generalize
that
the government will regu-
late an
industry
if
there is a strong public feeling about
it, if the legislature agrees, if a court does
not
think the
action "unreasonable,
arbitrary
or capricious,"
and
(usu-
ally)
if
the
industry
doesn't mind,"
The following ten chapters develop these general themes
in the following contexts:
Chapter
2, the communications in-
dustry
(television networks, CATV
and
"Pay
T.V.");
Chap-
ter
3, the telephone
industry
(AT&T); Chapter 4, the mari-
time
industry
(the American Merchant
Marine-subsidies,
taxation, cargo preferences,
and
the
FMC-the
conference
system) ;
Chapter
5, surface
transportation
(the ICC) ; Chap-
ter
6,
air
transportation
(the CAB,
lATA
and
ATA);
Chap-
ter
7, electric power (pooling, interconnection, wheeling,
mergers
and
the
FPC,
AEC
and
SEC);
Chapter 8, defense
procurement (contracting techniques, high profits
and
gov-
ernment financed
research);
Chapter 9,
drug
procurement
(Defense Department,
HEW
and
Veteran's Administration
bidding
and
purchasing practices) ;Chapter 10,
patents
(gov-
ernment
patents
and research, the
Patent
Office,
and licensing
restraints)
;
and
Chapter 11, imports (quotas,
tariffs
and ad-
ministrative deterrents).
The book's general themes
are
neither novel
nor
new.
In
fact they
represent
ablending of several traditional notions,
most of which
are
fairly
well articulated in existing
literature
or otherwise accepted. The classic exposition of the theory
that
the government is a
major
contributor to the existence
of monopoly is the 1955 book by
Walter
Adams
and
Horace
3
THE
MONOPOLY
MAKERS,
supra
note 1,
at
11-12.

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