Ms Lukas first claims that winners in the market provide the greatest goods and services for the lowest price, and that winners and losers simply represent the proper valuation process of products in the market. Thom responded that monopolies can either buy competitors outright or temporarily artifically lower prices to drive them out, and that this situation implies a force in the marketplace contrary to the so called "freedom" of the marketplace. Ms Lukas, in a surprising manner in my opinion, states that Wal-mart and the like have no such capital to manipulate the market in such a way. This is of course is in cataclysmic contradiction with reality. The ability and execution of conglomerates buying the competion is simply a fact. A different, and more practical argument, is that conglomerates are simply merging with smaller outfits and incorporating them into the big tent of multi-national corporatism. I think this argument has the biggest democratic harmonizing glow to it
. Another might be that value assement is a cold calculator and ultimate arbiter of value as it relates to goods and services. In other words, smaller buisness with its ability to produce goods at a reduced price, would be compensated comensurately when bought by the conglomerate. As in they are trading in their potential profits in the marketplace for a lump sum payment. In this sense no one is being robbed of opportunity. Also the implication here is that market forces are at work since conglomerates will be forced to keep prices at a level where not too many smaller compettiors to be bought off.
One obvious respons to this is the question of degree. It seems a given that a more egalitarian economy could contain large buisnesses or affiliated economic institutions without necessarily effecting the market place in a non-democratic fashion. But Ms Lukas, and those who argue with her, will never consider degree. There can never be too much wealth concentration. The idiocy of the belief shows the obvious lack of ability to look at the situation objectively.
The question of course is how to get people to see through the argument. One would think that the fact that we have people earning fortunes who are adding nothing of value would be a signifcant indicator that our system is broken. But for some this argument gets lost in the freedom cloud of get what's yours My only other suggestion is to develop an analytical technique that allows people a sense of the actual work required to make things. For example building a car has an approximate sum total of the work hours required to extract the raw materials into a car. Yes there are ambiguities in the equation regarding the existing infrastructure and how it is calculated, but the fact remains we can create basic parameters on how long it takes to make and do stuff. I guess the basic idea is how much of our stuff could we make if we were unencumbered from restraint, and compare that to where we find ourselves.