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Missing Brigade

          Where are the economists who specialize in antitrust, i.e., those
  who have devoted their professional lives--decades of study--to monopoly
  problems?  Are they on the Net and, if so, where?  If not, why not?  As I
  think I've mentioned before, some 2,000 members of the American Economic
  Association (AEA) list industrial- organization (antimonopoly) economics as
  one of their principal areas of interest.  (My journal, the *Antitrust Law &
  Economics Review,* goes to virtually all of the larger universities (plus a
  lot of smaller ones) for the use, primarily, of their economics departments
  and law schools.)  Why are all these 'expert' antitrust economists not
  participants in this discussion list?  I can think of several possibilities:
          1.  They're not 'wired,' i.e., they're not on the Net.  Unimpressed
  by the cyber- space revolution, they're still somewhere back in the stacks
  at their local libraries.
          2.  They're wired--have E-mail addresses--but they're too busy
  making big bucks as 'expert' witnesses for, and consultants to, corporate
  America (up to $5,000 per day) to bother with anything so trivial as a Net
  discussion group.
          3  They're hoarding their intellectual capital.  Participating in a
  discussion group means, by definition, a sharing of thoughts, ideas, data.
  Under the publish-or -perish imperative, why give away something that a
  rival-academic might steal, shove into a hasty article of his own, and use
  to claim credit for intellectual achievement that rightly belongs elsewhere?
          4.  They've checked out this (and perhaps other) discussion groups
  and don't like what they see, e.g., the issues being discussed don't
  interest them, the format of the discussion list doesn't appeal to them, and
  so on.
          I know personally perhaps a couple of hundred of these specialized
  economists and at least a few of the more senior ones are indeed unwired,
  per (1), above.  They've heard of nothing going on in cyberspace that, in
  their view, would justify the personal effort they believe would be required
  to master this new medium.  And while I've not talked with any about
  #3--sharing nothing with academic competitors until it has first been
  published between paper covers--rivalry in academia is sufficiently intense
  and personal that I would expect a substantial number to be, at best,
  lurkers rather than participants in a discussion group. 
           #2--the lure of big 'consulting' bucks from the monopolists--is, in
  my view, a virtually universal negative force here:  When you can sell your
  time for $500 or so per hour, why give even a few minutes of it away,
  whether by writing a (paper) article or offering an online comment?  Not all
  of these 2,000 economic 'experts' are currently selling their opinions
  (theories) so lucratively, of course, but all can--and most presumably
  do--aspire to that lofty sell-out rate to the corporate monopolists.   
          That leaves us with #4--the possibility that there are at least a
  few able and public-spirited (antimonopoly) economists who would be active
  participants on an antitrust discussion list IF they found it personally and
  professionally congenial.  We can safely assume that no senior antitrust
  economist would find it attractive to offer his hard-won experience and
  knowledge to a group that responded by subjecting him to personal insults.
  On the other hand, suppose that there was an antimonopoly discussion list
  that gave appropriate recognition to his achievements, treated him with the
  respect the latter deserved, considered his policy views with  respect, and
  carefully protected him from the insolent, the ignorant, and so on? How
  could the list guarantee him that latter protection--and thus give this
  senior scholar a serious incentive to share his wealth of economic knowledge
  and experience with the rest of us?
          Such a list could be 'unmoderated' in the generic sense that
  membership is open to all and posts are allowed to go through to all members
  without screening by a list owner or moderator.  If the objective of the
  list is to attract the most senior and knowledgeable members, however, its
  other rules must be designed with their interests in mind.  I would suggest
          1.  No name-calling, ad hominem attacks, or discourteous, uncivil,
  disrespectful or offensive posts.  
          2.  The list owner will himself, or through a designate, provide an
  E-mail address for the lodging of complaints under (1),  above, either by
  the person offended or by any other member of the list.