Amazon vs Publishers & Authors
Paul Krugman has regrettably taken a position in the Amazon vs Publishers debate. Yes, monopolies can obstruct progress as can monopsonies. But what we have had for a very long time is an old boys' club of publishers and selected authors who charge too much for their books and restrict entry to their club. This is, I would suggest, an evident fact. Amazon is only now challenging the status quo due to their ebook technology. Books should become much cheaper! And authors should be able to enter the market more easily without the screening and selective pressures of a narrow industry! This should be a self-evident goal. So, which side of the argument should a thinking individual support?
Krugman oddly enough misstates some of the facts and talks in generic terms about the evils of monopsony. But when new technology disrupts established markets it generally means that there will be rising productivity and efficiency. This is the cornerstone of economic progress. Yes, of course, during such market shifts one needs to be watchful of emerging power blocks that could dominate markets and become negative forces. But the argument regarding Amazon is stretched. In general fears of new technologies developing into monopolies have proven to be illusory in recent history. Remember IBM and Microsoft? And those companies did have near monopolies. What is Amazon's market share? Why doesn't Krugman tell us?
My guess is that Paul Krugman belongs to the old boys' club and wishes to protect his privileged position as one of the select group of authors.