Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Costs of doing business

Tech companies spent 111 million on lobbying last year, with MSFT naturally leading the pack.

Some of the money was probably to encourage government adoption of their services.  The rest was probably regulation repellant.  Does anyone have a model for this sort of thing that explains 111 million in terms that aren't largely dead-weight loss?

Corporations have countervailing forces pushing them to be bigger (economies of scale) and pushing them to be smaller (see my too big not to fail).  Lobbying costs push companies to be larger than they'd otherwise have to be.

Contrary to the common leftward model of government regulating megacorps, government regulation benefits the megacorps by increasing the amount of money and pull that is required to operate in our marketplace.  The reason why Microsoft can afford a few million in bribery is that it's potential competitors cannot.

In the meantime, let's punish Goldman Sachs by introducing new compliance guidelines the adoption of which will only be affordable if you're... Goldman Sachs.  We'll have mostly current and former GS management take care of writing the regs.  Can't fail.

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