I keep telling you
How you bruised my heart
Keeping me holding on too long
(Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse)
Braiding hair on Bree Street, Johannesburg, 2002
Digital Prints on 100% cotton rag paper
Edition of 6
In this week’s Mail and Guardian, two senior economists from the Competition Commission of South Africa (Simon Roberts and Trudi Makhaya) write about the role of competition policy in promoting an environment conducive to new entry and business growth in the economy. Below are some extracts though it would be far more enlightening to read the full article:
What is often not recognised is that for cartels to be sustained they must not just agree among themselves, but must also keep out new entrants attracted by the high profits. So, not only are consumers harmed by the collusive prices, but so is opportunity. Dynamism is harmed in another way as managers who guaranteed their market share through collusive arrangements enjoy the “quiet life” rather than worrying about quality and service…
The orientation to protecting their position through erecting defences to potential rivals has been characterised as “handicap competition”, seeking strategies to disadvantage and undermine other firms outside the club through devious schemes, as compared with “performance competition” where managers commit themselves to winning in the marketplace through the legitimate pursuit of productivity and efficiency…
Given our status quo, not facing up to the tension between the interests of entrants and incumbents is in effect a decision to support the existing networks, albeit with some new members likely buying into them.
The Latin American experience may be instructive where the development of competition law was hostage to the region’s economic history. As these economies were largely dependent on extractive industries and agriculture, elites were indifferent to the value of competition in the economy.It has only been through globalisation and concerns over inequality that competition law has gained traction in recent times.
We believe that in South Africa it is necessary to take a positive stand on future competition through widening participation and increased diversity as guiding principles. This is consistent with supporting entrepreneurship and creativity whereby different ideas and approaches are introduced to the marketplace and tested.”
Trudi Makhaya and Simon Roberts are economists at the Competition Commission. They write in their personal capacity
Image from Goodman Gallery