>In what sense can the following be called competition in the economist's
>wierd sense of the word: a high tech sector enjoying massive rental income
>protected by intellectual property rights; the greatest merger wave in
>close to a century; the use of national and regional tarriffs, non tarriff
>barriers and subsidies to secure the position of centralized domestic
>capital both internally and externally.
Tariffs are trivial in most countries for most commodities; which ones are you talking about? And as for nontariff barriers, it's really hard to believe they have that much of a macro effect, given that trade has been growing faster than world incomes for the last 50 years.
The other things you mention are attempts to deal with or limit competition. Surely the auto market is more competitive now than it was 30-40 years ago; there's fierce competition in things like commodity memory chips. I think the picture is a bit more contradictory than you paint it. For every attempt to enforce IP rights, there's a Chinese counterfeiter trying to beat the restriction.