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  1. HaraKiriBlade's Avatar
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    #1

    The stand-on-your-head-and-the-world-looks-great argument

    What could this mean? the expression popped up in a keynote remark by Elizabeth Warren:

    In the last decade, the number of major U.S. airlines has dropped from nine to four. The four that are left standing—American, Delta, United, and Southwest—control over 80% of all domestic airline seats in the country. And man, are they are hitting the jackpot now. Last year those four big airlines raked in a record $22 billion in profits. Eighteen billion alone came from fees for baggage and legroom and pay toilets. Ok, the last one was a joke, but what have passengers received in return for their higher costs? Fewer flights and worse service. Airline complaints rose 30 percent just from 2014 to 2015.

    The list goes on. A handful of health insurance giants—including Anthem, Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Healthcare, Aetna, and Cigna—control over 83 percent of the country’s health insurance market.

    Three drug stores—CVS, Walgreen’s and Rite Aid—control 99% of the drug stores in the country.
    Four companies control nearly 85% of the U.S. beef market, and three produce almost half of all chicken.
    Some people argue that concentration can be good because big profits encourage competitors to get into the game. This is the perfect stand-on-your-head-and-the-world-looks-great argument. It says that there’s no competition today, but maybe there will someday be competition. The truth is pretty basic—markets need competition now. So I want to talk about five reasons to be concerned about the decline of competition.
    Last edited by HaraKiriBlade; 22-Aug-2016 at 12:03. Reason: To correct a sub-verb agreement error in the title

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    #2

    Re: The stand-on-your-head-and-the-world-looks-great argument

    She means that those arguing that market concentration will lead to more competition have to see the situation upside down to make it look hopeful.
    I am not a teacher.

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: The stand-on-your-head-and-the-world-looks-great argument

    Remember Sears? It "controlled" a good deal of the domestic retail market. The same with J.C.Penney. Remember A&P? It "controlled" a good deal of the market for groceries. Remember White Castle? You don't? Then there was GM. It "controlled" so much of the domestic automobile market that it had to be bailed out by the government.

    If everything looks better upside down you might want to try looking at things that way. (Elizabeth Warren's arguments might make more sense that way.)

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    #4

    Re: The stand-on-your-head-and-the-world-looks-great argument

    I was re-phrasing Warren's argument. I didn't comment on its merits.
    I am not a teacher.

  3. HaraKiriBlade's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: The stand-on-your-head-and-the-world-looks-great argument

    So the expression was used in the literal sense. I thought it had some other idiomatic meanings, such as that you have to try really hard to make things look good or that cause and effect are reversed.

  4. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: The stand-on-your-head-and-the-world-looks-great argument

    Everything looks upside down that way.

  5. Skrej's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: The stand-on-your-head-and-the-world-looks-great argument

    Quote Originally Posted by HaraKiriBlade View Post
    So the expression was used in the literal sense. I thought it had some other idiomatic meanings, such as that you have to try really hard to make things look good or that cause and effect are reversed.

    Well, it's somewhat metaphorical at least, if not idiomatic.

    It's not that the world really looks better upside down, it's just that if you're standing on your head, your vision is distorted, and you're so preoccupied with not falling over that you're not looking at things in great detail. Plus your field of view is very limited to the lower extremities of whatever is directly in front of you. You can't really turn your head and look something up and down when standing on your head.

    In other words, your powers of observation are limited when you're upside down, so things may look better than they really are.
    Wear short sleeves! Support your right to bare arms!

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