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The Forum > Article Comments > Competition policy evaluated > Comments

Competition policy evaluated : Comments

By Saul Eslake, published 7/12/2005

Saul Eslake argues competition is only desirable if it furthers the welfare of the Australian people.

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What a load of Academic goby gook.
I bet the author of this article does not own a small business, nor would he survive if he did!
NPC is destroying small business.
NCP is destroying volunteering
NCP is destroying the very society it is designed to protect.
Too many people are working their guts out to have time for family or community that Service groups in decline, Scouts are looking at going under by 2020 and the traditional family unit is under huge pressure just to make ends meet.
But the Shopping Centre magnates and Banks with close contacts to the Federal Government are doing a roaring trade.
It is generally agreed in retail the last 10 years under NCP have been the hardest on record.
Hundreds of smaller community based businesses have gone under as the Big National Retailers have taken over Petrol, Liquor & Grocery and regional centres.
One National retailer has risen to dominate entire furniture and electrical market to the point suppliers fear to deal with him because they know they will make a loss.
This is contrary to the underlying principals of the fair competitive market but the ACCC wont lift a finger unless they have a whistle blower.
In Britain the once “Nation of Shop keepers” under NCP many of the regional centres have been officially classed as “Clone Towns” as the big retailers move in and strip them of their local identity. The same process is happening in Australia with locals protesting in the streets because they don’t want the construction of another clone supermarket to destroy their local businesses but the jugernaught backed by the federal NCP government policy rolls on and the Prime minister who says small business are the back bone of Australia dosent give a toss that it is his governments NCP that is destroying family business he claims to protect because economists have dehumanised the whole equation and redefined citizens simply as mindless consumers
Posted by Trev, Wednesday, 7 December 2005 2:49:03 PM
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Yes,'Trev', it's true that I don't own a small business. Rather, I work for a large one. It may even be true that I "wouldn't survive if I did". I have no particular desire to test that hypothesis.

Perhaps for that reason, I don't believe, as 'Trev' appears to, that consumers exist to serve the needs of businesses, rather than the other way round.

National Competition Policy, in its essence, is about allowing consumers to decide who they do business with, where and when, rather than having those choices circumscribed by governments passing laws and regulations stipulating who can do particular types of business in what places and at what times. Those laws and regulations are usually imposed at the behest of existing businesses who want to be exclude potential competitors, thus allowing them - rather than their customers - to decide the prices at which they will sell their merchandise or services, and the hours at which their customers can buy them.

No-one - least of all National Competition Policy - is forcing 'Trev' to stay in business. If 'Trev' can't make a decent living - by which I mean a reasonable return on his capital and for the hours he works, and have time to do the other things he wants to do - then perhaps full-time consideration of another endeavour might be in order.

He certainly doesn't have the right to expect governments to prevent others from going into competition with him, from selling stuff at lower prices than he can, or from opening at times that he doesn't want to.

'Trev' sounds like the sort of guy who would never let facts (or anything else that he can pass off as 'academic goby-gook'(sic)) interfere with a strongly-held opinion, but just in case I'm wrong about that, I should point out that full-time employees have worked an average of 40.5 hours per week in each of the past two financial years, less than in any year since 1995-96. All the more reason to suggest that 'Trev' should be thinking about a career-change.
Posted by Saul Eslake, Wednesday, 7 December 2005 3:41:24 PM
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The Mission of the NCC was to
Improve the well being of ALL Australians through growth Innovation and rising productivity by promoting competition that is in the public interest.
It would be apparent to me that if people are protesting in the streets against National retailers building more supermarkets that the NCP has failed its primary mission.
Contrary to popular opinion in Sydney and Melbourne there is civilised life west of the Murray and when South Australia and Western Australia tried to reject the change in trading hours the NCC was quick to drop multi million dollar fines on the states contrary to the NCC policy “The Council does not set reform agendas or implement reforms; these are the responsibility of the various governments.”. The South Australian Parliament had to go to dead lock conference to pass legislation a few hours before the NCC dead line.
Clearly the Melbourne based NCC has no respect for SA or WA retail trading hours culture and deemed the objections put forward by both parliamentary committees and local traders as “outspoken minorities”.
My attempts for find out the logic behind the NCP change by state government via Freedom of Information and direct requests to the SA Premier and SA Ministers and NCC have come up against a brick wall.
Clearly it is a hidden agenda by the Governments and it is not in the governments interest for a decision that is meant to improve the well being of all Australians should be made public.
Maybe Andrew Evans has got a point all major legislation should have a public family impact statement so the Ministers cant hide behind cabinet privilege.
Re your work hours 40.5? My research shows while the Average Australian may be getting Paid 40.5 they are working 50-60 hours per week including unpaid overtime. Small business are working 60-80 hours per week for less income when they are trading 10 years ago.
Tell me Saul how many new small retail business jobs have been created in South Australia since the NCP Change in retail trading hours and how many have been lost?
Posted by Trev, Wednesday, 7 December 2005 4:29:20 PM
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Well apart from mega profits that are sucked into an exponentially expanding derivatives bubble, exactly what benefits are we supposed to have seen from all this national competition?

What a flawed outlook! What a sad set of premises from Chicargo school of economics! A world of rubber numbers and figures.

One hour a week and yes you are not counted amongst the unemployed. Money supply numbers embarrassing? well just stop reporting them.

This is NOT a world of consumers and producers. That is the world you have made in your own head! Or its been put in your head by Milton Freidman and his associates.

Let me put it this way. A person is BOTH a consumer and at the same time a producer. You cant simplify things to a line on a piece of paper and ignore the physical world. What works is to organise society such that education , health, power, water, transportation, communication is provided such that there is maximum potential for population growth and an environment for scientific discovery, entrepreneurship and industry.

Lets raise tarrifs and create jobs for everyone by building infrastructure. We can then take on as anaional mission helping the rest of the world develop by helping them do the same.
Posted by Jellyback, Wednesday, 7 December 2005 5:03:28 PM
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Trev... I don't think you read the article: You appear to have missed this quote from ACCC chief Samuels:

<<As ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said earlier this year, “a society that relies purely on market forces to distribute the benefits of change will inevitably sow the seeds for polarisation and resentment. Ultimately, this feeds into social dislocation and political instability”.>>


-They CLOSE branches.
-They OUTSOURCE 'IT' and other work.
-They pay their chief exec MILLIONS. (Robber Barons)
-They make BILLIONS in after tax profit
-They INCREASE fees and charges (CBA recently introduced a 50c per transaction charge for 3rd party payments via netbank. previously free)
-The GOUGE fees from EFTPOS use.

This has helped the consumer ? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO it has helped executives and share holders. It has BLUDGEONED the battling banking public into a despairing sense of hopelessness.

A prophetic perspective (from Isaiah, with some name changes)

Chapter 1
2 Hear, O heavens! Listen, O earth! (and how about listening in Canberra)
For the LORD has spoken: (against the above)
"I reared children and brought them up, (gave them competition)
but they have rebelled against me. (used it for greed)
3 The ox knows his master,
the donkey his owner's manger,
but Israel does not know,
my people do not understand." (BANKS dont know their customers any more)

4 Ah, sinful nation, (BANKS)
a people loaded with guilt, (BANK EXECUTIVES/BOARD MEMBERS)
a brood of evildoers, (AS ABOVE)
children given to corruption! (YEP..THAT TOO)
They have forsaken the LORD; (AND FORSAKEN THE CUSTOMERS)
they have spurned the Holy One of Israel (AND THE PEOPLE)
and turned their backs on him. (ON US)
Posted by BOAZ_David, Wednesday, 7 December 2005 8:14:53 PM
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Saul, I think that anyone who studies the evidence would have to agree with the great merits of competition. Could you please come to Queensland, and repeat your message? Again, and again, and again ...
Posted by Faustino, Wednesday, 7 December 2005 10:00:00 PM
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