Markets are rivalrous processes for facilitating exchange. When they’re competitive, they tend to work well – often very well. They facilitate the gathering of information, the mutually productive exchange of products, and the allocation of productive resources. Many, but not all, Cats would think competitive markets are a foundation of an advanced, market economy.
Ostensibly to promote competition, the federation parliaments enacted the Australian Industries Preservation Act, though in practice it was a dead letter until we got something approaching a competition law starting with the Barwick Restrictive Trade Practices Act, followed by the Trade Practices Act of 1974 and now theAustralian Competition and Consumer Law. Under each, we have created successively larger, and more imperial bureaucracies. Their performance has been uneven: some (often the lawyers) have tended to miss the point of the cause, but on balance, doing more good than harm.
And then. Now we have Rod Sims.
How can the following words have fallen from the lips of a bureaucrat ostensibly appointed to facilitate the very market processes he derides?
‘“So if I buy an apple for $1 and sell it to you for $10, I’ve ripped you off but that’s not against the law,” he said.’