Elizabeth Warren proposes a 4-year ban on government officials going to work for "market dominant" companies

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/10/29/the-good-noncompete.html


Yes, please


A good idea but I’ve noticed some of the more egregious offenders don’t work for govt they work for NGOs/501c3s/“neutral” trade groups.

Awesome 1st step still! Enforcement should be a place to semi retire and corrrct mistakes you saw in industry not a pivot point for the well connected


So what stops these people from opening a shell corporation and the “Market Dominant” company pays that shell corporation as a contractor (that happens to benefit the ex-govt employee in question).
Technically the ex-govt worker is working for the shell corp.
I would hope there is language that would somehow prevent this.


Such incrementalism! Such love of capital!

Warren is kicking bankster ass and taking names. So say I.


Blocking the revolving door is one way of getting sell-outs out of government.


I like this proposal, as with so many of Warren’s proposals.

Whether or not it happens, I hope she would also resume anti trust enforcement, since in many cases being anything that would qualify as “market dominant” is already illegal.


I’d like to see a lifetime salary cap on government officials; something where if you take a sufficiently prestigious role in government, you can never thereafter earn more than a certain amount annually, and if you do end up with a job that pays in excess of that amount it’s donated to the state.

I could imagine that preventing a lot of people from ever seeking public office (or burdening ones who do). People who climb the ladder from state to federal positions could wind up in the same boat as AOC navigating the housing market in the D.C. area. A lot depends on how you would define prestigious, and whether or not there would be any flexibility for cost of living.


Just (early!) voted in Brooklyn this morning for a similar measure for NYC gov’t officials. Also for community oversight boards of both the police and land use, as well as ranked choice voting. Hell yeah civics.


What if you change careers and do something else entirely? That policy makes no sense, and could discourage really good people from getting involved in government.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of discouraging high salaries to corporate execs in the first place, but capping lifetime income doesn’t seem like a good policy when there could be factors we don’t currently foresee that change the whole scale (longevity, inflation, etc.).


In the US being market dominant isn’t illegal, but if you are market dominant many acts that would otherwise be legal become illegal. As an example most companies can bundle products they sell, but a market dominant company is restricted from bundling products in a market they are dominant in with other products (or maybe other products in non-dominant categories). So for example if Apple were determined to be market dominant in selling music streaming services, but not in video streaming they would not be allowed to bundle music+video. If Amazon were determined to be dominant in selling “dry goods” but not digital goods they would not be allowed to bundle them together in a single “prime” product.

I believe the theory is sometimes market dominance happens naturally, and this can be good for consumers (or not bad for them). You don’t want to punch a company at being so good at making something (or providing some service) that most people choose to buy it from them. However you want to avoid letting them use the thing they are really good at to let them sell a whole lot of something they are bad at, that does’t help consumers. It can hurt competition (giving some market entrants access to startup funding others can’t get).

I’m not saying if the policy actually tries to account for the theory very well, or if the practice actually carries out the policy. I’ll not only admit but point out it ignores monopsony (where one entity rather then ganging too much power to control the selling market they gain too much power to control the buying market, see Walmart and/or Amazon). It likely ignores monopsony because it was at least somewhat effective at curbing monopoly excess so another kind of excess was eventually employed :wink:

(FYI my personal point of view is capitalism can get good, even great outcomes, but areas that manage to be devoid of meaningful competition tend to be ones where capitalism is producing sub-optimal results, and government intervention to either create situations where meaningful competition exists, or to recognize that it isn’t likely to and control whatever is there result in a better outcomes then raw capitalism…my personal point of view is also that all prior systems of allocation labor and materials turned out to be “not as good” as something else, and that I don’t think capitalism is special in this regards, “something else” is likely better, I see no proof that it has been discovered as of yet, but given how much of an improvement various systems have been over each other, I think we ought to keep looking and experimenting)

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