My letter was published in Metro. The article was about Qwerty keyboards. People use the example of a Qwerty keyboard to show how inferior products become entrenched, and how capitalist systems fail to find optimal solutions. The journalist tried out a Dvorak and, since he didn't think it was any good, said that he “proved” that free markets were fine.
To: Metro newspaper
Sent: Nov 29, 2004 6:00 AM
Subject: QWERTY Foolishness
This article illustrates clearly the inability of consumers, and Ben Sommer, to make intelligent decisions due to market dominance. It takes years to learn to type comfortably on either a Qwerty or Dvorak keyboard. It's easier to use the keyboard you're familiar with. Ben Sommer's investigation is entirely nonscientific, irrational and is typical of poor journalism.
People, like Ben, grow accustomed to inferior and ineffective products, and be thereby unable to rationally evaluate competing products.
The concept of a “free market” is an attractive myth. All markets, including government-regulated, anarchic, and so-called “free” ones, will, provably, produce popular, entrenched products that are far from optimal.
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