Elizabeth Warren on monopolies in America, including Apple, Google, and Amazon

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the data are clear



Hard to take this post seriously, given the enormous number of ‘posts’ on BoingBoing that are essentially ads for things that you can buy on Amazon. If Cory et al. really agreed with this, they’d stop supporting Amazon.


Ah, you’re under the belief that personal boycotts, especially those at the expense of your own livelihood, do anything.

How charmingly free-marketeer and slacktivist of you.


Why “eww”? That’s a correct use since “data” is a plural word (though “is” is more conventional).

ETA: Although the pedant in me says that it should be “these data are clear”…


“These data…” is plural. but “the data” works as aggregate.


I agree that cable and other utility companies are too close to being monopolies. But I am not clear as to why Apple, Google, or Amazon would be considered such. I have encountered this often, where people online complain about a service they use - such as Facebook - by saying that it is a monopoly when the same users refuse to use other existing services instead. If you are going to use a service which you disagree with the business practices of, then you are in a very real; sense creating the very problem that you are complaining about. A monopoly means that there are no other choices - NOT that there are other choices which you choose not to use anyway. If you wait for a “critical mass” of people to use a service which is an alternative to Facebook, eBay, Amazon, etc - then these new alternatives too would be large enough to get away with the same uncompetitive business practices.

There might not actually be such a thing as “a company everybody uses” which is also fair and competitive, despite that having it both ways would be really convenient. So, find and use smaller companies.

I completely agree. But being critical of a business in no way suggests that one should still use it. Such companies probably bank on the presumption that your principles will be less strong than your desire for convenience.

FWIW I hate monopolies and am not really keen on commerce/markets either. But I think that choices are only meaningful when people are willing to actually make the less obvious choice.


But how does she feel about Monsanto?

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In what context?

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I dunno, seems like it’s acceptable to enough people that it’s fine. Your prescriptive grammar seems antithetical to your anarchism.


Seems like the problem is the business practices that should be managed by regulation. It’s an FTC problem, not something for the market to decide. The free-market solution of a handful of businesses dropping out won’t change the way the market decides, it’s a nice token to prove your bona fides, but meaningless as a solution.

Also, I’m pretty sure Cory is a contributor to BB, but not the person running BoingBoing.


My remark was more about how people get confused by the lack of aggregate forms in the English language. It seems obvious to me that not all things are singular or plural, but the grammatical rules don’t reflect this. It is raining here now, and I guess that most English-speakers would understand that if I refer to “the rain” that I am referring to an aggregate of particles collectively, rather than a singular piece of rain, or a number of plural rains. The usage is nearly universal, but the formalism to account for it is lacking.

Personally, I find the dichotomy between description and prescription to be false. I think of language as being more programmatic. Symbolic representations work, so long as symbols have some shared meaning. But humans often resist creating new symbols to represent new concepts, so they often resort to changing the meanings of existing symbols. In comparison, people devise new computer languages, algorithms, and data structures to test new concepts - but this in no way prevents existing languages, algorithms and data structures from working! Systems work, and people can devise as many different kinds of systems as they like. But I disagree that language is some sort of ad hoc process. It is systematic, but many simply choose to not be consciously aware of what system they are implementing.

There is also a hidden recursion in the description/prescription dichotomy which I never find remarked upon. Which is that apparent “prescriptions” are just the normal daily use of other people. Lots of people preferring “data” as singular rather than “datum” in no way invalidates that usage of it. Many self-professed descriptivists find no irony in telling me that my use of certain words has become unpopular and so is “wrong”, while this would only make them into the new precriptivists. If words can handle multiple meanings, then new meanings do not invalidate old meanings.

But I still think it’s better form to create new words for new meanings.

Could you paraphrase that essay into like 2-3 sentences? I’m a little too sad and tired right now.

So we should abandon ‘data’ as an aggregate term, and leave to its original plural sense?


And the press will continue to present Warren as a radical leftist because she… um… thinks a free market is more efficient than monopoly?


If the regulatory regime is one that favors the smaller independent firms at the expense of the conglomerate, well and good. Far too much of current USA regulation has exactly the reverse effect.


Isn’t that Warren’s point? (Or at least one of them.)


Nothing more Radically Leftist than saying “Capitalism’s OK, as long as there’s more than one set of Owners allowed to sponge off the profit produced by a particular field of expertise’s laborers without giving them input in how the company is run”, right?


“From each according to their abilities, to each according to the free market with some regulatory bodies established to prevent gross abuses and market failures” - Karl Marx



Spotify broke a longstanding (since 2011) App Store rule and when their update was rejected for breaking the rule, they sent out a PR complaining to various new sites and politicians.

Also, Nike has monopoly on Nike shoes! Someone better do something about that!