While we’re at it, let me make fun of the way Jeff Jacoby uses his latest column to insult the American Booksellers Association and defend predatory dumping.
This time, he’s not quite as wrong as he usually is – the line between aggressive discounting and destructive predation is blurry, after all, and the ABA has some silly arguments about how discounting hurts the prestige of books as such.
Nonetheless, he’s wrong: Give Harry Potter away below cost to draw traffic which might buy t-shirts, and you’re going to destroy the businesses that sell a variety of books beyond the top 40. That’s not good.
Whether this instance counts as illegal predation I will leave to the courts, but Jacoby seems to be implying that no such thing exists. That’s entirely false. He may not be wise or cogent enough to remember the lessons of Standard Oil and the trust-busters, but if not, he doesn’t deserve his job. And if he is, and he’s lying, then he definitely doesn’t deserve his job.
… And once again, we return to the central mystery of Jeff Jacoby: How the hell he still has a job. I could do twice his work for half the money. A quarter of the money.
You want an economic stimulus? Reallocate whatever money goes to Jeff Jacoby and spend it on strippers. It’ll do more good for society. Not kidding.