Rekindling competition

Governments often have little idea of the real effect of the measures they implement.

Groups with influence on government policy can take advantage of this by persuading them to implement policies for ostensibly legitimate reasons and with beneficial intended effect, but whose actual effect happens particularly to benefit the group itself.

In the 60s and 70s, the unions and nationalized industries were the principal artists and beneficiaries of this technique. Since the advent of credulous, pseudo-capitalist, actually-corporatist government in the 90s, the principal proponents of this technique have been the large corporations.

People are familiar now with the profitably symbiotic relationship between government and City institutions (both financial institutions and the consultancies that have done so well out of government contracts in recent times). And they are well aware of how the big energy companies have been ripping them off with rapid, steep price rises when wholesale prices go up and slow, small price-reductions when wholesale prices fall.

People may be less aware of the extent to which the energy companies are protected from competition by an array of government measures whose ostensible purpose is apparently well-meaning, but whose "accidental effect" is to reinforce the big companies' market power.

Though it receives little attention from commentators who think that all businesses are embodiments of the free market rather than aspiring monopolists, similar effects are seen in many other sectors. The UK is now so rife with bureaucracy and privilege that the only difference between the relationship between the Soviet government and the industrial conglomerates, and the relationship between the British government and the Vertically-Integrated Large Enterprises (or VILEs for short) is the facade of public ownership. The economic power of the VILEs is so strong that it cannot be broken whilst allowing them to retain their current form, any more than it was possible to break the power of the unions and state industries without first privatizing the nationalised businesses.

We would dis-integrate the VILEs to cut down on the barriers to entry and restore competition to markets.