Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Reviewer David Pogue knows technology but often botches business ethics. Writing about T-Mobile’s decision to liberalize its cellular contact, he asserts that “the two-year contract” to which T-Mobile is offering an alternative “is an anti-competitive, anti-innovation greed machine.” He gets his dander up:

The Great Cellphone Subsidy Con is indefensible no matter how you slice it — why should you keep paying the carrier for the price of a phone you’ve fully repaid? . . . Those practices should stomp right across your outrage threshold.

Maybe outrage is called for . . . by Pogue’s demand for outrage. It’s outrageous.

Companies need not compete on every level, to every aspect of a service, in order to offer customers a real alternative. And no particular voluntary market arrangement is inherently “anticompetitive,” for it cannot in itself prevent anybody from offering costumers something different. (Only government force, a major factor not discussed by Pogue, can block competitors from competing in particular ways.) Nothing about multi-year cell contracts prevented Tracfone and others from offering prepaid plans. Or prevented T-Mobile from offering its new plan.

Or a different alternate.

Pogue’s accusations of greedy “anti-competitiveness” can be and are made with equal injustice against any successful business. But there is no set amount of revenue greater than a company’s costs beyond which profits suddenly change colors, from moral to immoral.

And nothing is wrong with pursuit of profit per se, just as there is nothing wrong with pursuing an expected benefit by purchasing products and services, popular or un-.

People expect gains when they trade. If they see no benefit, they can just say no.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. John F Brennan says:

    The outraged miss the piot of “excessive and immoral” profits, which in a free market connot exist. Profitability is the market signal for capital allocation.
    It is the undereducated that do not understand that point which seek to intervien with market dislocations which make impossible to reach optimal efficiency.
    Anyone with half a brain understood the market ploy to allow you to constantly upgrade your cell equipment, that it was paid on an installment basis, and provide a larger interested audience for Mr Pogue. Should not be something he is complaining about.

  2. Jack says:

    I don’t understand what this is all about. However, I’ve had the sam carrier for many years, satisfied with the service.

    What is Pogue upset about? I just didn’t get the idea.

  3. …. People expect gains when they trade. If they see no benefit, they can just say no ….

    And just may, too!

  4. Paulina West says:

    “But there is no set amount of revenue greater than a company’s costs beyond which profits suddenly change colors, from moral to immoral.”

    That is definately a sliding scale. For example, if it’s Walmart, .01 is obscene profit; if it is an oil company, .09 is totally immoral; and if it Microsoft, .20 is not worth mentioning. (:

  5. Jay says:

    My experience with T Mobile was such, I wouldn’t refer them to AN ENEMY.

    I had a plan, and then, poof–no warning; no email or text or call; they changed the rules 9 and fees). They did the same to my sister.

    They have mnade 2 people unhappy, who have told others.

    They are almost as bad, or perhaps just as bad, as the credit card companies who change terms, in a print that is illegible ( being so small) and terminolgy that would confuse a Magana Cum Laude graduate of a major law school.

  6. MingoV says:

    I also don’t understand Pogue’s complaint. The carriers compete on price. I started with Verizon and switched to AT&T because its family plan was better. These and other carriers offered similar deals: sign a two year contract for $x per month and get a free phone (typically 5-10 choices) or buy a fancier phone at a discounted price. If you stick with the carrier and sign a new 2-year contract, you can get a new phone. My cell phone costs were lower than my landline, so what’s to gripe about?

  7. Dirk says:

    People expect gains when they trade, and also when they work. Welfare now pays the equivalent of $30.00 an hour for a 40-hour week, while the average job pays $20.00 an hour.

  8. MoreFreedom says:

    Liberals always direct their anger at corporations, when they should be directing their anger at politicians who give companies/industries government favors (like restrictions on competition, subsidies, and guaranteed markets) at our expense.

    Corporations have no power to force me to do anything. Government has all the power, and force me to do many things I don’t care for, and would also put me in jail for doing what I otherwise might (where I harm no one).

    Besides scarcity of resources, only government can force prices to rise. Apple might want to charge $5000 for their iPhone, but competition doesn’t allow it, and they’d get few sales if they did.

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