The current chapter Finances mainly covers taxes and state subsidies (aids granted by states). These topics can be found in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) under Common Rules On Competition, Taxation And Approximation. It makes sense to combine antitrust and Finances in a single chapter called something like Economy and Finances.
Steadily increasing market power over the past decades has led to higher prices, lower production and suppressing wages. In competitive markets technological progress leads to increase in real wages. Open entry for competitors by preserving competitive market structures ensures economic and social progress for the all people. To stop harmful market consolidation, Pirates want to revive and strongly enforce the antitrust rules.
The current inflation is predominantly a sellers’ inflation from the ability of firms with market power to hike prices. Such sellers’ inflation generates a general price rise which can lead to self-sustaining inflationary spirals under certain conditions. Pirates want to contain rising prices with antitrust.
Uncompetitive markets is why real wages aren’t growing. Antitrust enforcement may reduce wage-setting power, in low concentration markets it isn’t enough; more robust labor regulations and protections are necessary.
Dominant firms not only have monopoly power for overcharging the customer, but also can exert monopsony power to underpay workers. A minimum wage restrain firms’ wage-setting power. Pirates support adequate minimum wages in the European Union.
Noncompetes drive down pay for all workers and reduce competition in the economy. Noncompetes also reduce innovation, entrepreneurship, and new business formation. Pirates propose a ban on non-compete agreements that prevent workers from switching jobs.
Erosion of antitrust has given rise to labor market precarity and diminishing worker bargaining power. Antitrust presents firms with a clear choice: either workers are statutory employees or they are independent businesses. Pirates support sectoral collective bargaining power, also for the self-employed.
In the so-called ‘gig’ economy the workers’ boss is often an algorithm. Companies use data to compile worker profiles, but it is unclear to the worker exactly how this is done and how such a profile affects the tasks assigned to them. Transparency and accountability are needed.
that government and companies to make public algorithms, analysis methods and training data (anonymised and aggregated) used;
that information about you is available to you;
that training data consisting of personal data be made public with the necessary privacy safeguards.
Information monopolies prevent, restrict or distort technical or economic progress. The exclusive rights granted by so-called ‘intellectual property’ laws may lead to anticompetitive conduct: limit or control production, markets, technical development, or investment. For example technology that prevents making use of copyright exceptions, such as for third-party repair of a device. Pirates want to revive competition law to advance access to knowledge.
Behavioral targeted ads are mostly used by lower quality vendors who charge higher prices for identical products. Besides harming consumer welfare, the scale at which ad-tech companies are collecting huge amount of personal data creates barriers to entry. The automated process of data collection and of third-party targeted ad placement is depriving news publishers of revenue which limit investment in legitimate journalism. A healthy business model for the internet that thwarts Fake News requires equal access to data. Pirates agree with an ads regime based on content and context.
Concentration of economic power can lead to replacement of the democratic order with autocracy. The role of antitrust is to prevent the aggregation of undue economic power, and of keeping open channels of political discourse and participation, such as news media or online platforms.
Pirates promote policies that improve human well-being regardless of their race, gender, or ethnicity. Concentration can worsen diversity across firms and hinder women from climbing the professional ladder. Under the consumer welfare standard, these harmful outcomes are deemed irrelevant. An antitrust standard must account for the impact of mergers on marginalized groups.
The consumer welfare model used in antitrust ignores the externalization of costs associated with a merger. It is biased in favor of big business and the wealthy, and it suffers from serious internal inconsistencies. In examining only the relevant market and harm to consumers, antitrust enforcement agencies ignore external costs of a merger in the rest of the economy such as job loss.
Firms have market power if they, for example can: fix prices; price-discriminate; impose trading conditions; limit or control entry of competitors; or earn above-normal profits. Quality, privacy, and innovation become increasingly important in the 21st century economy.
A modern antitrust standard meets several essential objectives:
to protect individuals, purchasers, consumers, and producers;
to preserve opportunities for competitors;
to promote individual autonomy and well-being; and
to disperse and de-concentrate private power.
Pirates propose the effective competition standard:
“Agencies and courts shall use the preservation of competitive market structures that protect individuals, purchasers, consumers, and producers; preserve opportunities for competitors; promote individual autonomy and well-being; and disperse private power as the principal objective of the European antitrust laws.”
Enforcing antitrust is not the job of politicians. To ensure the competition authority acts in the best interest of the European people, it has to be set up specifically as an independent institution. An independent institution would separate antitrust policy from direct political influence. This way, the competition authority is able to pursue antitrust policy that fosters economic growth and job creation in Europe. Pirates strive for an independent European competition authority with a mandate to render the economy competitive.
In many concentrated sectors there isn’t much competition to protect. Self-regulation does not cater for problems that go beyond the relevant market, therefore an institutional framework is needed. Rather than sanctioning the abuse of a dominant position, competition policy should focus on prevention by maintaining open entry for competitors. Mergers efficiencies must be proven by the one asserting them. Competition enforcement agencies must have enough resources, institutional support, and a legal mandate.
Hello Wab, I just read your “Economy” Chapter and would like you, Danny and Wietze, Petr and Bastian come together to fix your final version of the “Eononomy and Finances” chapter. It should be ready by the June 5th, to be presented at our Board Meeting. Just ask me, if you want me there too. I love your program. Some networking required here Thanks, Mia