The offices of several oil companies have been inspected by the European Commission which include BP and Shell. The inspections were unannounced to the companies, hopefully catching them by surprise before any evidence can be shredded.
The ‘raids’ which took place in the UK, Norway and the Netherlands happened after allegations were made that the companies colluded to keep oil prices higher than they should have been for more than a decade.
The European commission said the alleged price collusion, which may have been going on since 2002, could have had a “huge impact” on the price of petrol at the pumps “potentially harming final consumers”.
Milton Friedman once said: “Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.”
Of course this is absolute nonsense, it’s not a lack of belief in freedom, it’s a lack of trust in the corporate world!
There are countless examples where had it not been for government regulation the ‘free market’ would have hampered competition and worked against the interests of the consumers, making costs higher for ordinary people and profits higher for the corporate world, leading to a much more unequal planet.
The European Union (EU) has ordered Microsoft to pay £484m for failing to allow consumers a choice in web browsers.
Back in 2004 Microsoft was fined £381m for the same reason after which Microsoft did start to offer consumers a choice but this web browser option screen was dropped following a Windows 7 update in February 2011.
Microsoft said that this was due to a technical error but the European Commission dismissed this and is no doubt using this opportunity to make an example of Microsoft so that no other company thinks that it can get away with not implementing fair anti-monopoly regulations.
This move can only be seen as a good thing, shoring up EU funds and and allowing other, smaller businesses an opportunity to thrive.
Supporters of Capitalism say that it creates competition and they criticise Socialism for stifling competition but alas closer to the truth is that Capitalism destroys competition by creating monopolies, companies buy other companies and put their products first.
It is regulation that stops this, it is government intervention.
Towards the end of last year we wrote about web browsers here.