Faith in market-friendly policies and trust in big businesses hold SA back
Rather than too much, cartel watchdogs have too little power to tackle high concentration in economy, writes Simon Roberts
The amendments to the Competition Act that are soon to come before parliament are long overdue. Study after study — including by the IMF, World Bank and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) — have identified the high levels of concentration as a critical problem facing the country, and that there is a need for more effective competition policy, including but not limited to competition law enforcement. Yet many commentators in this newspaper have suggested that the amendments will undermine investment and that the competition authorities will have too much power to reshape the economy. They seem to believe that business as usual, or at least as it was in 2007 prior to "state capture", is just fine. This is reflective of a broader narrative that argues that if left to themselves, SA’s markets will deliver desirable economic outcomes. Indeed, they see no pressing need to reshape the economy. Instead, in this view what is required is "business certainty", meanin...