Journal’s Free Market Fantasies Out of Sync with Real World Reporting

April 13th, 2013 · 2 Comments · economy, journalism, role of government

By Arthur Alpert

I’m sure you have noticed the excellent work of Journal business reporter Kevin Robinson-Avila.

The guy has been writing intelligently and lucidly since his arrival last June, mostly about technology, energy and venture capital. He’s solidified my grasp on how the system works. And I should have written an appreciation earlier.

That said, Journal editors have been impressive, too, in their refusal to recognize or state the implications of his stories.

Instead they continue to retail fanciful tales of free markets and free enterprise, disregarding what he spells out so definitively.

What brought this to mind was a brief Robinson-Avila item on the business page Friday, April 12, about Technology Ventures Corp. laying off five people and shutting offices in California and Idaho.

TVC facilitates technology transfer from Sandia National Labs in cooperation with Lockheed Martin, hired by the U.S. Department of Energy to manage Sandia.

TVC “has also received congressionally directed or ‘earmarked,’ funding as well as grants from the DOE, and other federal agencies to expand its work in New Mexico and other states,” Robinson-Avila noted. And the loss of some of those dollars caused the retrenchment.

So, the feds send my money and yours to TVC to help them take the product of Sandia research – itself paid for by my money and yours – into the private sector.

Hmmm. Free markets? Free enterprise? No, this is government intervention and it’s not free, no matter how you define the word.

No reason to throw a fit, of course; this is nothing new. American enterprise began with government aid – subsidies ranging from the post office to land grant colleges, the Pony Express, canals and railroads.

Also, significantly, Washington raised high tariff walls behind which American enterprise matured from, say, 1816 to, maybe, 50 years ago.

It’s the American Way.

Yet despite the crystal-clear accounts from Robinson-Avila and others of the current government-supported business system, Journal management pretends otherwise. Editors fill the “news” columns and Op Ed pages with imaginative histories and narratives, many from the laissez-faire crowd, in which government’s benevolence is missing.

For Margaret Thatcher, society didn’t exist. For the Journal, there is no government stimulating, nurturing and protecting business.

Leftists who don’t approve of government-backed business call it socialism for the rich. Liberals and traditional conservatives give thumbs-up to “public-private partnerships.” But they’re describing the same reality.

Not so the Journal. Like “Game of Thrones” fans, it prefers fantasy. So what if the taxpayers underwrite most business, our daily inhabits a never-never land of “free markets” and “free enterprise.”

Coming soon – special coverage of Unicorns gamboling, Fools frolicking and Dragons breathing fire.

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • Gerard Bradley

    Actually, Game of Thrones might furnish some really great models of corporate behavior. JP Morgan Chase as the Lannisters, anyone?

  • Arthur Alpert

    Thanks for the comment, Mr. Bradley. Of course I have no idea what it means because I don’t watch the show. Maybe time to spring for HBO, huh?
    Arthur Alpert
    PS Or, better yet, time to get the original from the (magical) Albuquerque Public Library…..

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