Tag Archives: competition

George Osborne, you seem confused about what you think

You blamed Labour’s profligate spending for our balance of payment deficit, so you have tightened all our belts & it has got worse. That’s odd isn’t it? Maybe the problem was that the banks were manufacturing money to lend to Americans who aspired beyond their means and the whole house of credit cards collapsed. I guess that’s what happens when virtual money becomes more important than people or honesty. We could sell council houses to people who have done well out of socialism, so the next generation have to buy their own homes or rent from good capitalists, even though they can’t afford to.

You say companies are not achieving because the banks won’t lend them money to borrow their way out of a crisis? Isn’t that what Labour were trying to do, when the fashion for lending pretend money, guaranteed by imaginary assets suddenly became unfashionable and crashed the banking system? They didn’t cause it; they made a bad bet. You know that but you still lie to us.

There is nothing wrong with borrowing money to replace the broken down car that gets you to work, if it lets you keep the job that will enable you to pay off the loan. There is something wrong with borrowing tax credits off the poorest working people so that your rich friends can buy a new yacht and fund your political party. Borrowing in the UK to fund infrastructure that will allow economic renewal, in infrastructure and sustainable technologies is good. So why haven’t you? Why have you closed down green energy initiatives and imported nuclear power stations that won’t arrive for 10 years? Are you trying to force fracking through, by generating an energy crisis George?

You want to privatise everything that is state owned because competition makes companies more efficient, yet you have invited nationalised French and Chinese energy companies to build our nuclear power stations and China to bid for the steel contract for HS2 because they can undercut UK companies. That sounds like they are more competitive. Could it possibly be that our state-owned companies have had insufficient investment in order to deliberately make them fail, like the NHS, to falsely demonstrate that your dogma is correct? It isn’t though, is it George? It’s clearly wrong, because evidence.

You say we must all be in work because we need growth. Why do we? Why are you in such a hurry to deplete the world’s few remaining resources. You can’t “create wealth”. You can only convert our wealth in natural resources into a grey wasteland and paper promises. Why can’t we shrink and share what we already have and slowly reduce the population to maximise humanity’s remaining time on this planet? You want us busy so we don’t have time to think.

Why do we have any entitlement to inherit the wealth of our parents? What have you ever done to deserve your life, apart from be born lucky? I include myself in that question. I was born into a functional welfare state and had a free university education, unlike the immigrants you are so keen to exclude from claiming their share of the world’s resources. Yet not the rich Russians and Chinese who you will happily sell England to, as long as they buy Manchester first, while property prices are held artificially high by international buyers who don’t even want to live here.

How is life in First Class, George?

New Rules to Make Free Markets Fairer

If you believe in free markets then as well as allowing people to work hard to become wealthy, you believe they are good for consumers, because competition encourages innovtation, increases quality, reduces price and ultimately improves value. This is particularly important to the poor.

People will choose a range of different ‘best-value points’ on the quality/price graph, usually according to their income. The wealthy get better quality. This incentivises the poor to strive to become rich. You see, I DO understand ‘the idea’ behind Capitalism.

The danger is a supplier that comes to dominate a market to such an extent that it can control that market and disrupt competition. It is a duty of government to prevent such monopolies, even if MPs are shareholders or provide consultancy services.

I want to outline some legislative changes that I think would make to free markets work better for consumers and the environment.

  • Bundling
    It should be illegal to offer discounts for buying more units than you want, unless there is a genuine cost saving to the supplier for supplying in bulk.
    Our planet is running out of resources. We don’t want to rush that.
    Buying food to throw away raises prices for people who can’t afford to eat enough to stay healthy. That is immoral.
    Buying 2 or more completely unrelated products together, at a discount, gives an unfair advantage to large companies.
  • Stop loyalty cards
    Yes, it’s just ‘virtual’ or ‘time-lapse’ bundling.
    People are ‘loyal’ to organisations that give them consistently good value
    A ‘bribe’ is a different thing
  • ‘Walled gardens’
    If 2 different products work together via an interface then that interface should be made public, so that competitors can compete fairly.
    When third-party products, parts or services are used, a supplier should not be able to withdraw warranty for unrelated parts.
    Purchase of Services e.g. an iPhone should be able to buy music easily from a site other than iPlayer and that option should be made as obvious by Apple as its own service. Microsoft were forced to make other browsers available to compete with Internet Explorer.
    A new phone manufacturer should be able to buy music from Google Play by developing its own software, making calls from their software via the same published interface libraries Google use, so it is not put at a competitive disadvantage by another product/service.
    If the original supplier claims that development costs were high and need to be recouped, then fair licensing costs should be charged, in exchange for full exposure of those costs.
    Such competition causes original manufacturers to provide the value their customers require.
    Manufacturers should not be allowed to keep purchase price low by subsidising from the sale of over-priced consumable items later, such as ink cartridges, vacuum cleaner bags or coffee machine capsules, or by suppying devices such as laser-printers with cartridges that are only half full with toner.
    Devices should not be sold at less than manufacturing cost.
    Total running costs should be made clear at point of purchase, in a standard format, to allow comparison with competitors.
    The ‘cost per standard unit’ of consumable items should be clearly marked. e.g. cost per cup of coffee.
    It is best for consumers if open interfaces are used, so offer tax breaks for companies on products that use industry-wide open standards for interfaces, developed in co-operation with all competitors, as that reduces overall costs to citizens.
  • Stop allowing patenting of non-innovative ideas
    Stop all software patents. They are destroying the software industry. Writing software is hard enough without having to constantly check if the idea you just thought of has ever been thought of before, via your legal department, if you have one.
    Small, innovative companies do not have legal departments, allowing large companies to put competitors out of business.
    Stop patents of any ideas, once the development costs + x% have been recouped. x might be different for industries with varying rates of R&D success. Being first to market already has a significant market advantage in fast-moving industries.

My search for a “GNU/Linux ‘Shiny’ OS” to be a minimum-cost competitor to Google’s Chrome OS

I think I’ve made it fairly clear that I don’t completely trust Google not to behave like IBM or Microsoft or Apple (in music), if they find themselves in a position of monopoly power in services. I believe there is a significant possibility that the UK government are soon going to jump out of the Microsoft frying pan, into the everlasting fire of Google services, using support for Free and Open Source Software as their excuse. This will delight their Google handlers and perhaps earn them a tickle of their cash-hungry bellies.

As I pointed out in a recent post, use of the Linux kernel and free-to-use services no longer guarantees you any real Freedom. We face a future where cheap Google Boxes in our houses and Google phones in our pockets/handbags will be the portal through which every message we send or receive passes. It seems likely that Google Chrome OS and Android will merge in some way, into an impenetrable fortress, keeping our data safe for us and Google and our government.

We need an alternative. The Free Software movement seems to be blindly following Google towards a destination of its own eventual destruction. What happened to the community’s ideals? Are we so easily bought?

I’m looking for an alternative way forward. I want a simple web and application server constructed and run on FOSS services, available from multiple providers because “The Market is Good” and “Competition Benefits the Consumer”, RIGHT? I only want to use server software that I could take away and have run elsewhere if I was not happy with my service provider and I want a web-based client that uses entirely open Web standards with no proprietary extensions “for greater power” (see: Chrome.) Obviously, as a Real Linux we have the option to also enable local desktop applications, rather than drive consumers to our company shops.

Please tell me if you think there is an obvious alternative FOSS solution to the Google monLOLopoly. If there isn’t then we need to elect one soon because democracy needs choices to stay viable. Our ‘choice of Freedom’ is at risk.

Management Summary of ‘Social vs Capital’ parts 1 – 3

  1. Avoid hardware vendor lock-in by using Unix-style operating systems that can run on any appropriate hardware.
  2. Avoid software vendor lock-in by using Free & Open Source Software (FOSS) so development can be done by anyone with appropriate skills and shared for the common good.
  3. Avoid service provider lock-in by only using FOSS on Linux to provide services,  operated by multiple service providers in a distributed network with easy data transfer/mirroring between providers.

All 3 suggestions encourage fair competition between competitors in a free market, without the potential to abuse a market-leading position, to the benefit of consumers.