Totally disagree with that (about monopolies being good); more on this
But regarding that law class, it reminds me of my days in business
school. One of the best classes I ever took was business law. Now, you
know my political beliefs: well to the left of center. The class was
taught by an older conservative Mormon rancher type. Yet it turned out
to be one of the best classes I took the entire time I was in school
there (NAU in Flagstaff). The guy was very fair-minded, and covered all
the basics (contract law, basic legal concepts, etc.) very clearly.
This, of course, elides many cases of malicious malfeasance attributable
to the likes of Standard Oil and other monopolies. In general,
monopolies are things to be avoided wherever possible; only a few cases,
among them ones you listed above, are good candidates for manageable
Would you consider the US Government a monopoly? I also love the fact the
US Government taxes the Oil Companies to the extreme of making more off a
gallon of gas then the outfit that produces it, just for the opportunity
to do business in this country. Does anyone know what the US averages in
dollars collected per year in TAXES? Just curious.
I suspect someone, somewhere has compiled it. But maybe not. If you
include federal, all state, and all local taxing authorities, that'd
be a mighty long list.
Wonder what percentage of the GDP that total might be. A tad more than
your income tax bracket, I'd warrant.
An armed society is a polite society.
Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.
Robert A. Heinlein
I still remember the guy who owned the hobby I hung out at when I was
a kid bitching about the amount of taxes levied on a loaf of bread as
well as all the taxes collected by government in total.
At that point in time, about 1950, all taxes collected by Federal,
State and Local agencies were about 35%-37% of GDP.
60 years later, it is still about 35%-37% of GDP.
Doesn't seem to make any difference whether it is "The tax and spend
liberals" or "The less government conservatives" that are in power.
The percentage of GDP spent remains pretty much the same, it's just
what it gets spent on that changes.
I agree. Standard Oil's methods of putting competitors out of business was
But it was the COMPETITION that suffered from Standard Oil's practices - not
the average consumer. The consumer benefited enormously.
To be more current, consider Microsoft's battle in Europe over imbedding
multi-media code within the operating system. Did the consumer complain?
Absolutely not! The whole thing was brought to the courts by RealPlayer
(they tried the same thing in the U.S.). So, as a result of the EU court
decisions, Microsoft offered a version of XP without MediaPlayer.
I think Microsoft sold about eight copies.
My point is that railing against monopolies is almost never based on
consumer needs - it's the competitors that are stirring up the folk.
You might enjoy "The Tycoons" about Rockefeller, Carnegie, Morgan, and Gould.
(Amazon.com product link shortened)42003229&sr=8-11
It paints Rockefeller and Gould in a better than usual light. Morgan and
Carnegie in worse. Anyway, it's well written and paints a fascinating picture
of a key time in US history. -- Doug
I'll have to disagree in part with that blanket statement. For about the
1st 30 years of my life, I lived where electricity was a municipal
utility. Worked fine. I now live where Avista, formerly Washington
Water and Power, has a monopoly. Every year or two they go before the
PUC and claim they have to raise rates. Shortly after they get their
way, they issue a stockholder report proclaiming record profits.
I'll take the government owned electric company every time.
Intelligence is an experiment that failed - G. B. Shaw
Some moron here decided that we needed competition in the electric power
industry, so the power company no longer deals directly with the end user,
instead they deal with a middleman who deals with the end user. The result,
of course, has been that the middleman puts a markup on the price that the
company that owns the wires and generators charges, and the consumer takes
it in the ass.
Unfortunately, it's been abused beyond belief. What was once copyrighted
for 15 yrs has now been extended to 75 yrs BEYOND the originator's death.
Europe has just recently passed similar legislation. This all because the
distribution industry has greased pol palms. I'm not sure about latest
Fortunately, China laughs at such nonsense and will disregard it to provide
an equal, even if sometimes lesser quality, product. Hence, Harbor Freight.
Another thing, is the quality one expects always there. One of the most
common items procured from the stores of a govt lab I worked at was the
right angle gear-head of the German made Bosch 4-1/2" high speed grinder.
Apparently, a very popular tool with a high failure rate. I have one and
have never had to replace it, but I also do not use it often, so it has
Another example of China made stuff I've been happy with is a hand-held
power bandsaw. Milwaukee wants almost $400. I got mine for $140. Dual
speed and works great. The blades were junk, but Milwaukee blades fit
perfectly. I've also had a 2-1/2 ton floor jack and jack stands made in
China that were superior to similar US made items costing three times as
I learned a long time ago that tools should be judged on an individual
basis. You cannot assume anything based on a brand name or country of
I would like to add the crown jewel--metalworking horizontal/vertical
bandsaw for something like $150 or so. They are sold under multiple names
being EXACTLY the same saw less different color and nametag. The HF one is
at least three times cheaper than a closest competitor and it works like a
charm. I can not count how many tons of various metals I cut with mine
during those several years I owe it. Yes, original blades are junk but even
with a cheap Rigid brand one from Home Depot it runs like Energizer Bunny...
It is simply an outstanding tool.
The other one is a Chinese clone of a Chinese (zic!) welder. There is a
bunch of those that are only differ in color and name. Mine is Everlast
Super200P. I paid for it $800 and it does almost everything that $3,000
Miller Dynasty 200DX does and it has better duty cycle. It can even do
plasma cutting however I use another Chinese clone of Chinese Riland, Cut60D
for plasma. I paid $400 for mine and it is 60A. Super200P does AC/DC TIG,
Stick and it does it very well. It is simply a pleasure to weld with
"difficult to run" 5P aka 6010 electrodes; they burn like matches with 90%
Yes, most of Chinese stuff brought here is crap. But there are also some
jewels at unbelievable prices. And one can find almost all those Husky etc.
"brand" tools at HF under generic Chinese name. Not similar ones but EXACTLY
the same tools.
* KSI@home KOI8 Net < > The impossible we do immediately. *
I have and use the dremel - I picked it after testing the Fein and
others. It was the right power for my 11 year old twins and worked well.
I have a wide array of attachments. they kids really like it for doing
I just picked one up today with a coupon ($35). Coupons are
supposedly unique but give it a try worst they can say is "already
If you sign up on their website you'll get coupons at least once a
week. I seem to get a 20% any 1 item at least once per month. Latest
Wood Magazine has a 15% off coupon for HF.
The tool flange has rings where the attachment bolts up and a washer
with swirled grooves in it. No pins like on the Dremel I saw in the
Borg. If it works half as good as the Dremel I tried at the Borg it
is worth the $35. If not I'll take it back.
http://www.harborfreightusa.com/usa/common/displayCoupon.do?week 09&campaign=RetailB&page=coupon1.html&single=true&rG05_61704&custx026692342&keycode 00
Worked for me, got mine this afternoon.
I'll check it out and report back.
"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
I have a Dremmel. I used it yesterday with a (router-like base)
attachment that made it easy to cut mortises in a door edge and jamb.
After drawing tracing the plates, I freehand the cutter close to the
pencil line, then cleaned it up with a sharp chisel. Really nice
tool, but I have not tried other brands.
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