Time Warner Cable (TWC) and Embarq (the big players in broadband services) are trying to persuade the North Carolina state government to ban community-owned broadband services.

“The argument is that the big companies can't turn a profit and compete against a community-owned enterprise that essentially sells service for cost, but we're not buying it – if anything, TWC and Embarq can invest the extra profits they've been earning in other areas into building [better and more competitive] services …” But that would drive up costs of course.

Interesting but not surprising. A business that is primarily focused on maximising profits at minimal cost is expected to behave this way.

(Full article here.)


Coincidentally I came upon the following quote by Wal-Mart creator Sam Walton; talking about Wal-Mart smaller business competitors:

"They need to avoid coming at us head-on, and do their own thing better than we do ours. … I don't care how many Wal-Marts come to town, there are always niches that we can't reach – not that we don't try. … Swim upstream. Go the other way. Ignore the conventional wisdom."

(Spotted here.)


Now if we were to link the above, we get this appalling “we want the whole cake and eat it all ourselves too” attitude.

We are a big corporation.

We can come in to your city and take over your smaller shops due to our size and cost advantages.

But you the blessed agile smaller businesses can simply innovate/nichecraft yourselves new opportunities; opportunities that we have not considered or are too scared to explore.

Once you have found that special something that is proven to make money, we will come and take it over.

And if we can’t, we will do everything we can to shut you down.

Does anyone else see something fundamentally not right and disturbing about this scenario?

The competitive field can never be truly level of course. But governments can play a part through laws that restrict monopolies, collusion or other unethical practices. A capitalist society run by pure economic rationalism, driven by profits above all else, is a frighteningly real prospect otherwise.

If TWC and Embarq get their way, it could open the path to crappy and expensive services unchecked by any real competition. WalMart is already well known for its dubious practices of pushing out competitors with aggressive price wars and strangling suppliers in its constant quest for cheaper and more stuff to sell.