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Remember when Ma Bell had to "break up" because she was too big?

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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 04:03 PM
Original message
Remember when Ma Bell had to "break up" because she was too big?
Perhaps it's time for MANY "big companies" to "break up"...back into the smaller entities they USED to be back before cannibal capitalism ran roughshod in the 80's & 90's.

I cannot help but think that a LOT of companies who are in trouble now, are there because of all the smaller companies they acquired over the last few decades..

Every time there was a "merger" or "take-over", the report aso told us of all the debt the buying company assumed.. This cannot go on forever, and apparently they are realizing it now.. Add to that the ever-rising pay for CEOs.. There HAS to be a tipping point where a company is just too big, to run efficiently and profitably...

Before all the cannibalism started in earnest, companies merged to BENEFIT the bottom line...not to eliminate "competition" or to sell off parts for sums greater than the total. I'm betting that many of the "deals" did not actually work out all that profitably (except for a few wheelerdealers)..

Back when people ran profitable companies (main street), the "boss" dteremined HIS/HER salary AFTER all the costs of running the business were figured out.. Any CEO who gets millions of dollars for running a business into the red..is ...well..a crook or a bad businessman/woman running (ruining?) a company with a pretty ignorant board of directors..

If you tried to run a family's finances that way, you'd all be camping in McDonald's parking lot, and eating from their sumpsters..

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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 04:09 PM
Response to Original message
1. You could start by forbidding some companies from operating in more than
one state. That's the way banking used to be and you never really had to bail one out back in those days. It also made it easier for government inspectors to do their job and find which banks weren't following the laws. I think public utilities could be another business although I would rather utilities were government run or run by cooperatives.
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Andy823 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 04:27 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. I think it's to late.
By the time Bush and his gang get done, there will be a handful of banks that control all the banking industry, and a few big companies owning the investment firms. It's the "NEW WOLD ORDER" that daddy Bush wanted, and Jr is doing his best to accomplish it by giving everything away to his "super rich" base!
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elifino Donating Member (331 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 04:21 PM
Response to Original message
2. A few months ago AT&T re-acquired Bellsouth
I left AT&T several years ago because of crappy service and went to Bellsouth. I had no problems at all with Bellsouth, now my DSL is slow when it works at all. I expect the errors on my bill to start again with AT&T providing their dis-service again.
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 04:23 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. AT&T has owed me $15.61 for 6 months now..since I canceled their service
It took me umpteen calls & 3 months to get them to understand that I did not owe THEM $101.00..that THEY owed ME..

They finally figured it out, but instead of sending me a check, they just keep sending me a statement every month showing me that I have a $15.61 credit.. :rofl:

I guess I should send THEM a threatening letter, telling them I will turn them over to a collection agency :)
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 04:36 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. That's what happened to me.
I dumped AT & T for Sprint, which was bought out by another company, whom I don't remember, that was bought out by AT & T. So I'm back to square
one. I'm tempted to dump it and rely on my cell phone which is local and provides me with good service. The only reason I keep the land line is because when we have earthquakes or sometimes power outages, the land line is the only one that keeps working.
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onenote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 05:27 PM
Response to Reply #2
8. the old Ma Bell has been largely rebuilt, but its not exactly accurate to say ATT re-acquired
BellSouth.

The history of the ATT break up and reformation is as convoluted as they come. But in a nutshell, after the break up, there were seven regional local exchange carriers (with names BellSouth, Bell Atlantic, etc) and ATT, which was the long distance part of the company. Over time, the various "baby bells" combined in various ways, shedding names, changing names, and/or taking the name of the acquired company. One of those aggregations of Baby Bells, operating as SBC, re-acquired the ATT long distance company and then adopted the ATT name in place of the SBC name. It is that company, which is called ATT, but really is SBC, that then acquired Bell South. In the end, the result is the same, the company that was Ma Bell has largely been reconstituted although in a far different environment than the one in which operated before the break up.
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ThomWV Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 04:37 PM
Response to Original message
6. Standard Oil too - don't forget it. That's how we got Exxon and Chevron, and others.
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Gman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 05:18 PM
Response to Original message
7. No one should be using AT&T's "eBill"
make 'em spend the money on postage.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 07:27 PM
Response to Reply #7
11. And kill another tree?
No thanks :)
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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 06:50 PM
Response to Original message
9. Correct..no company shoudl be allowed toget so big that the country "Cannot afford" for it to die.
There also needs some limitations on horizontal and vertical acquisitions.
Limitations need to be put into effect so that a company cannot eliminate all
of its competitiors by buying them out.

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slipslidingaway Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 07:25 PM
Response to Original message
10. "Remember when" Sure do...
that is when we received bills that just said "Memo billing" at the bottom :)
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 07:29 PM
Response to Original message
12. And remember what happened right after the Bell breakup?
Cordless phones!

It took the breakup to improve the technology.

On the other hand, back when we had one phone company, your phone never broke. Some of those suckers are still in homes all over America, working just as well as the day they were first installed.
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lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 07:34 PM
Response to Original message
13. What's a sumpster? Do they make something that resembles a hamburger too?
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 07:35 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. oopsie... have I told you lately, what a bad typist I am??
:rofl:
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lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 07:52 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. LOL, I have no room for speech on the subject.
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judasdisney Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 03:15 AM
Response to Original message
16. The Sherman Anti-trust Act
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sunnystarr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 12:54 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. I looked and found familar players ...


Alan Greenspan, in his essay entitled Antitrust condemns the Sherman Act as stifling innovation and harming society. "No one will ever know what new products, processes, machines, and cost-saving mergers failed to come into existence, killed by the Sherman Act before they were born. No one can ever compute the price that all of us have paid for that Act which, by inducing less effective use of capital, has kept our standard of living lower than would otherwise have been possible."

The criticism of antitrust law is often associated with conservative politics. For example, conservative legal scholar, judge, and failed Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork is well known for his outspoken criticism of the antitrust regime. Another conservative legal scholar and judge, Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit does not condem the entire regime, but expresses concern with the potential that it could be applied to create inefficiency, rather than to avoid inefficiency.<15>. Posner further believes, along with a number of others, including Bork, that genuinely inefficient cartels and coercive monopolies, the target of the act, would be self-corrected by market forces, making the strict penalties of antirust legislation unnecessary.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherman_Antitrust_Act


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judasdisney Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-10-08 01:22 AM
Response to Reply #17
18. Yes, the Greenspan ideal is monopoly plutocracy
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leftofthedial Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-10-08 01:43 AM
Response to Original message
19. but capitalism is a pyramid scheme.
it has to work that way.
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hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-10-08 02:11 AM
Response to Original message
20. ATT chose to break up
Edited on Wed Dec-10-08 02:11 AM by hfojvt
so it could expand into other businesses which its monopoly status prevented it from doing. It tried to go into the computer business, but pretty much got squashed by IBM and Microsoft there.

Long distance calling has certainly gotten cheap, but that didn't happen immediately after the break-up, so I think there might be technical reasons for that too. In 2001 when I went to Deutschland, the pay phone there was on a timer for even a local call. I don't remember if Switzerland was the same way.

A friend of mine who worked as an operator for Ma Bell said that the break up meant the end of good-paying operator jobs too.
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ColbertWatcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-10-08 02:20 AM
Response to Reply #20
21. AT&T itself was purchased too by Texas' SBC. n/t
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Scooter24 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-10-08 02:39 AM
Response to Original message
22. Bell was broken because it had an extreme monopoly,
I highly doubt we'll see any legislation restricting a company's growth. There are just too many companies that have global operations and workforces and employ well over 100,000+.

Walmart has 2.1 million employees, yet they are far from being considered a monopoly.
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