And We’re Back

It was not as if I expected anything to happen during my time away from Opus Publicum, and apparently nothing has. The state of things, be it churchly things or things secular, remains static — the same complaints, the same worries, the same uncertainties surrounding this perpetually perplexing state of life affairs. Maybe the one thing that stands out to me, as I re-scan the blogs and other outlets of commentary, is how indignant certain individuals are over the so-called same-sex marriage case before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). The fix is in. When the fix came in is a matter of some debate, but it is in and there’s nothing to be done for it. Instead of standing firm and resolute in the face of this dismal reality, people have opted instead to lament or, worse, find ways to square the inevitable with what they claim to believe. This is easier for Orthodox and Protestants to do than Catholics, though make no mistake about it: When it comes to capitulating to the Zeitgeist, faithful little Romans are difficult to beat.

Maybe the most interesting thing I’ve read in weeks is Azar, Schmalz, and Tecu’s pathbreaking paper, “Anti-Competitive Effects of Common Ownership.” Here’s the abstract:

Many natural competitors are jointly held by a small set of large diversified institutional investors. In the US airline industry, taking common ownership into account implies increases in market concentration that are 10 times larger than what is “presumed likely to enhance market power” by antitrust authorities. We use within-route variation over time to identify a positive effect of common ownership on ticket prices. A panel-IV strategy that exploits BlackRock’s acquisition of Barclays Global Investors confirms these results. We conclude that a hidden social cost — reduced product market competition — accompanies the private benefits of diversification and good governance.

The fact the paper focuses on the airline industry isn’t what attracted me to it. That the paper (potentially) reveals a major loophole in U.S. antitrust enforcement is bad enough; that it further confirms the falsity that the “market takes care of itself” is what should should really be turning heads. Eric Posner, in both Slate and his web-log, has offered some excellent commentary on the paper, including a defense of its findings from pro-capitalist critics.  

Anyway, that’s the news for the moment. Posting, of some sort or another, resumes tomorrow.



  1. Patricius
    May 3, 2015

    Welcome back.

  2. Ita Scripta Est
    May 3, 2015

    Good to have you back. Did you happen to read Thomas Storck’s latest at Ethika Politika?

    I think he makes (as usual) a compelling case that “the fight” over SSM marriage was lost from the start.

  3. Bernard Brandt
    May 4, 2015

    Glad to see that you are back.

    The paper on the anti-competitiveness of common ownership looks interesting. I shall have to read it, when I have finished getting my wife out of the damned (formerly Catholic) hospital she is now in. More on that later.

    And yes, the fix is in as regards ‘gay marriage’. On the premise that “history repeats itself; the first time as drama, the second time as farce’, we are seeing a second manifestation of the age of the Emperor Nero, who altered Roman Constitutional Law to permit gay marriage, mainly to ensure that he was able to marry the boytoy of his choice, twice. If I recall correctly, that edict was not reversed until the fourth century A.D., by Emperor Theodosius I.

    From what I have seen in history, however, expect a return of legalized persecution of Christians. Whether anything can be done about it depends upon whether we recognize the counsel of Benjamin Franklin: “We can either hang together, or be hanged separately.”


  4. Aethelfrith
    May 5, 2015

    I am glad to see you back. Though I am on the Eastern side of the Church divide, I welcome your writings on Catholic Social Teaching.

  5. jacopo
    May 6, 2015

    The fix was in with Lawrence maybe even back to Romer. Doesn’t matter what level of review the court, Kennedy, who will write for the majority, applies because there is no “rational basis” for states to treat sodomy differently from a procreative union only irrational animus toward sodomites. It was an uphill battle for the state solicitors because five of the justices’ intellects are so benighted on this issue that they can’t see the difference between same-sex coupling and marriage. It’s like trying to convince a dog that 2 + 2 does not equal 5. Up is down.


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