Blog Archives

Hong Kong’s Competition Law: Friend or Foe?

by Hannah Berdal
Hannah Berdal is in her third year at the University of Western Australia, studying a combined degree in Law and Commerce with an Economics major. Hannah is currently involved in the Students in Free Enterprise society at her university as an executive member and was recently an intern at The Lion Rock Institute.

Hong Kong’s Competition Bill has been a long time coming. With the law already enshrined throughout most western economies and anti-trust cases frequently making the headlines overseas, it was only a matter of time before pressure to implement similar legislation reached its peak. However, considering that Hong Kong already outperforms the rest of the world’s economies in open market competitiveness without such legislation, will the local consumer really benefit from such a law governed by the monopoly of the State? And why are SME’s (small-to-medium enterprises), one of the law’s supposedly major beneficiaries, so vocal against enacting this law? With many overseas nations suffering a turbulent and questionable history with the law, the rationale for its adoption in an already cutting edge economy remains unclear. Hong Kong must study the track record of this law elsewhere in the world and review similarly established policies, like those in Australia, to provide useful insight as to its effectiveness and ramifications for the Hong Kong business community. Read the rest of this entry

Collusion Is Our Right

by Neville Kennard,
Australian preaching and practising capitalist and Hong Kong regular

“Co-operation”, “collaboration” and “collusion”; they are similar expressions meaning slightly different but overlapping things.

Buyers may co-operate — they may assist each other to get the best price perhaps, or the best service; co-operation is seen as good, wholesome, beneficial. We co-operate with each other to our mutual advantage.

And sometimes people collaborate — they may co-operatively and collaboratively work together to gain a benefit for themselves, their customers their friends or family. To collaborate is to gain a benefit for oneself, each-other, one’s customers, members.

And then we may sometimes collude. That is to say, we may choose to co-operate and collaborate with friends or partners in a project, and we may choose to exclude someone we don’t like or trust. We may exclude someone from this venture, not coercively, not with any threat, but just because we choose to. We want to do without this party, and we exercise our freedom to collude to this end.

But while co-operation and collaboration are seen as OK, collusion is seen as not OK.

If force, fraud and coercion are absent, what is the problem? And how do you define “collusion” (which is supposed to be nasty, hence the scare-quotes) and co-operation and collaboration (which are supposed to be nice)? Read the rest of this entry