Friday, January 14, 2011

When Libertopia Comes, Sell Your Blue Chips

Blue chip stocks are, for the most part, stocks of huge, over-sized conglomerates that would not survive without state intervention to keep them from getting nibbled to death by more nimble competitors. Of course they all would deny it and it is quite possible that some of them *would* continue at their present size or even larger in a truly free market world. But that's not the way to bet.

This dependence of corporations on government favor through regulating competitors into disadvantage is a major reason why small government deregulatory schemes seem so often to come to nothing. Corporations that have laid out careful minefields of regulations to trip up new competitors are loathe to have their defenses breached merely to get a fraction of a point on GDP or a smidgen more net employment. Their corporate employment figures are likely to suffer and for them, that's all that matters.

The whole situation is so tangled that any serious deregulatory effort that looks like it will succeed should be accompanied by shifting your stock portfolio to smaller firms and sectors not so involved in regulatory defenses. This would have the perverse effect of tanking the stock indexes as the economy gains a better business environment overall but those are the breaks.