Fainting in Coyles An occasional letter from the
Heart of Euroville
Wednesday, March 03, 2004
“Why do all the words in Anti-Trust sound like Victorian sexual practises?”
Fred Smith at the Institute Turgot.
Tying, bundling, merging, predatory and so on.
The language of anti-trust is very odd, as was pointed out yesterday by Fred Smith jr of the Competitive Enterprise Institute at a lunch/talk in a very nice flat in the centre of Brussels for the Institut Turgot. This group a rather informal collection of generally French speaking liberals is organised by Henri Lepage (the man who wrote Tomorrow Capitalism). Ostensibly the talk was about the upcoming Microsoft verdict, but of course it strayed over those boundaries. Fred was insistent that anti trust legislation was a mistake as it almost always failed to take into account “non price elements of the marketplace”. He likened the windows package to a supermarket that allows the consumer a wide variety of options which boutique shops just do not have the capacity to provide.
He was particularly good on the difference between European and American socialism. European socialism he described as “honest socialism”, after all it believes in the state ownership of the means of production. Thus if there is a failure in an activity the culprits are there for all to see. American or “dishonest socialism” is run through regulation, or more precisely, where “competition policy is pernicious regulation”.
A fun time in fun company