Competition among companies is good, runaway regulation far less so

Today in The Australian

Not long ago, Andrew Leigh, the opposition assistant Treasury spokesman and spokesman on competition, told us that “Australia’s markets are more concentrated than those in comparable countries” — and, brace yourself, “the problem is getting worse”.

About Henry Ergas

Henry Ergas AO is a columnist for The Australian. From 2009 to 2015 he was Senior Economic Adviser to Deloitte Australia and from 2009 to 2017 was Professor of Infrastructure Economics at the University of Wollongong’s SMART Infrastructure Facility. He joined SMART and Deloitte after working as a consultant economist at NECG, CRA International and Concept Economics. Prior to that, he was an economist at the OECD in Paris from the late 1970s until the early 1990s. At the OECD, he headed the Secretary-General’s Task Force on Structural Adjustment (1984-1987), which concentrated on improving the efficiency of government policies in a wide range of areas, and was subsequently Counsellor for Structural Policy in the Economics Department. He has taught at a range of universities, undertaken a number of government inquiries and served as a Lay Member of the New Zealand High Court. In 2016, he was made an Officer in the Order of Australia.
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14 Responses to Competition among companies is good, runaway regulation far less so

  1. stackja

    Liberty Quote
    What, then, do they want government for? Not to regulate commerce; not to educate the people; not to teach religion; not to administer charity; not to make roads and railways; but simply to defend the natural rights of man – to protect person and property – to prevent the aggressions of the powerful upon the weak – in a word, to administer justice. This is the natural, the original, office of a government. It was not intended to do less: it ought not to be allowed to do more.

    — Herbert Spencer

  2. entropy

    It makes total sense you know.
    Heavily regulate a sector to the point diversification within the market is heavily restricted, and barriers to entry for new competitors become ever higher and higher.
    Then recommend an entirely new layer of regulation to address issues caused by the current regulation. And then introduce a state owned competitor when that doesnt work. The script writes itself.

    It reminds me of the story The King, the Mouse and the CheeseNot the sort of reader that would feature in Marxist school rooms of today,

  3. Jonesy

    Watch the shenanigans if legislation is passed at the federal level to give water REGULATORS more power.

  4. Up The Workers!

    If competition is such a good thing, then why do we not have any competition in the Union sector?

    Maybe the A.C.C.C. needs to step in and prosecute the organised crime bosses who run unions in this country and break up their vastly corrupt and crime-laden monopolies, in order to encourage honest people to possibly involve themselves in the running of Unions for a change?

    Rather than having the usual knuckle-dragging crims associated with the A.L.P. thieving $20 million in cash from one union, or other notorious A.L.P.-types pocketing under-the-counter brown paper bags of employer-donated cash in order to deliver worse pay and worse conditions for Unionists in E.B.A. negotiations, what a change it would be to see honest people involved, just as an alternative.

  5. Tim Neilson

    Reminds me of the outstanding Monster Raving Loony Party campaign a few elections ago in the UK:
    “Why is there only one Anti-Monopolies Commission?”

    A joke, but like so many good jokes it reveals a serious issue. To have a highly intrusive government statist complaining about lack of competition is flabbergasting (or would be if we weren’t so jaded by examples of “progressive” lack of self-awareness).

  6. H B Bear

    Big Business loves Big Government and Big Union.

  7. Mother Lode

    It is staggering how effortlessly government and its various organs have come to the conclusion that one of their functions is making our moral choices for us.

    Who the blazes do they think they are?

    Seriously – the presumption is so harrowing that it could only reside in people so contemptuous of those they do not know, ignorant of the fact that there exist near infinite combinations of traits and wishes in individuals, glib in deciding that other people are less ‘real’ than themselves.

    And that is what we see.

    These incompletely formed, botched creatures, intellectually stunted and morally twisted are exactly what we see being fed into ministries as on a conveyor belt.

  8. Dr Fred Lenin

    Abolish career politicians limit them to one term . Legistlation that political donations are limited to $10 per person or organistionper year ,with draconian penalties for breaches and twenty years hard labour ,with no remission for bribery of any perceived kind .as a person paid by the taxpayer , very strict eligibility standards for aspiring politicians ,that would solve the corruption problem severe punishment does work .

  9. EJ

    Love the top fight-back responses from this article today in the Australian…

    “Paying tradies cash rips billions from economy, says ATO boss”

  10. hzhousewife

    “Paying tradies cash rips billions from economy, says ATO boss”

    How? My cash becomes their cash, and a needed job gets done. Their cash remains in the economy.

  11. yarpos

    I have always been partial to a Ronald Reagan (I think) quote about government
    “Governments don’t fix problems, they rearrange them”

  12. JohnA

    yarpos, he also reminded us that

    “the most fearsome words in the English language are:

    ‘I’m from the government. I’m here to help you!'”

  13. NuThink

    @JohnA, not even Ronald Reagan could have predicted that worse was to come “I am from Queensland, my name is Kevin, and I am here to help”.

    Woody Allen, in a movie, when asked what he did, said that he was an investment advisor on Wall Street. He invests peoples’ money for them until there is nothing left.

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