One of the disadvantages of full time work is that I tend to miss a lot of the addresses by bureaucrats. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as listening to fascists gets really boring after a while. However without it, it is difficult to keep up with their rather draconian vision for our future.
I am grateful to Ron Kitching for drawing to my attention to the address by Graeme Samuel the chairman of the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) to the National Press Club, with a letter, some of which is reprinted below.
After listening to Graeme Samuel the chairman of the ACCC address the National Press Club, (25.06.08.); I came to the conclusion that the ACCC is the personification of a perfect Fascist System of which Mr. Samuel is the Supreme Fuhrer.In his speech he referred to current economic trends: -
In the language of the Third Reich, he has six other UnderFuhrers, who decide the fate of their victims.
As Goebbels said in 1944: "We do not need to know what the Fuehrer is going to do -- we believe in him." The Rudd government apparently, believes in Samuels.
The German Fuhrer constantly talked about will. His attitude was, if you will it, you can do it. This was part of his appeal. People saw him as a strong figure, a man of destiny, able to convey the absolute conviction that he was correct. He had a mission and a will to fulfill it.
This is the impression I got of Graeme Samuel during his speech and question time. He has a destiny to fill. That destiny being the lowest possible prices for consumers, regards of all consequences.
“According to data from the International Monetary Fund, average global food prices have jumped nearly 50 percent since the end of 2006. World oil prices went up by 9 per cent in one month during May, and angry truck drivers and fishermen have begun blockading major European cities and ports demanding government action. In Australia, these pressures have led to consumer confidence hitting a 16-year low, according to the Westpac-Melbourne Institute survey released earlier this month.”None of this is related to commercial action, it is mostly the result of state interference in commerce, diverting huge quantities of food in misguided efforts to produce biofuels, and at the same time preventing access to oil and gas deposits, as well as blocking such technology as nuclear energy.
He went on to detail how we have faced other crises in the past most of which were solved by deregulation under Keating, which removed a great deal of protectionism and forced the creation of a more competitive economy, which was largely unaffected by events such as the Asian meltdown.
He makes the following comment: -
“…..with concerns of predatory pricing. This conduct results in fewer competitors in the market and ultimately leads to higher prices as businesses are freed from the constraints of their competitors’ best offers.When a bureaucrat complains that a practice is hard to prove it is normally a call to reduce the legal protections available to those they wish to ‘prove’ it against. Basically laws such as this are a nebulous hotch potch of rules, which make the legality of any act in business subject to the whims of those administering the law.
But proving a company has engaged in predatory pricing is notoriously difficult. This is because the difference between what is predatory pricing and vigorous price competition is not immediately obvious and requires careful analysis.”
As result those in business have real reason to fear the attention of these groups. This leads to the situation where, “.... Such is their fear of prosecution that people come and confess, and that is good, whether they are guilty or not.” Also, they must get in first. If an opposition confessor tells all first, he gets immunity and the other(s) get jail.”
Samuel’s ACCC has made a point of terrorizing businessmen with the threat of Jail. To quote him: “We have been very astute in our pursuit of cartels. We have 21 cases on our books and six in court. Cartel criminals are frightened of jail.” He kept talking about reforms, reforms and more reforms, which spawn interventions, interventions and more interventions.
Much has been made of a proposed ‘Fuel Watch’, which is designed to ‘protect the consumer’ but which will actually assist the major companies to dispose of the independents. They propose A Takeover Watch and A Housing Watch, Grocery Watch and he talked briefly about a Fertilizer Watch. With 650 staff, and I suppose a growing number of professional spies, we will soon have a Watch For Everything.
The way ‘Watches’ work is to encourage consumers to report activities they don’t like. This may on occasion lead to the uncovering of dishonest practices, but in practice tends to lead mostly to harassment of businessmen for legitimate price settings in a volatile situation, by busybodies who want to exercise a sense of ‘empowerment’ for the first time in their mundane, miserable lives.
The ACCC are basically creating a free spy network.
They are determined to stamp out ‘predatory pricing’ – charging too little, ‘collusion’ – charging the same, and ‘gouging’ charging more. They remind me of the lines from “The Incredible Bread Machine.”
"The Rule of Law, in complex times,
Has proved itself deficient.
We much prefer the Rule of Men,
It's vastly more efficient!
Now let me state the present rules,"
The lawyer then went on, "
These very simple guidelines,
You can rely upon:
You're gouging on your prices if
You charge more than the rest.
But it's unfair competition if
You think you can charge less!
"A second point that we would make
To help avoid confusion...
Don't try to charge the same amount,
That would be Collusion!
You must compete. But not too much,
For if you do you see,
Then the market would be yours –
And that's Monopoly!