Game competition: monopoly why not to win even a presidential decree

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The desire of FAS to increase your weight of the hardware is clear, but the real fight against monopolies, the new plan of the Ministry has very little

It seems that the FAS is ready to go public with the new global initiatives on the development of competition is preparing a presidential decree about it. The subject of competition this year was one of the Central discussions at the Gaidar forum. It seems that our managerial elite “began to mean something to guess.”

Dead zone

The author of these lines — among those who for many years proves that the problem of excessive monopolization of the Russian economy is Central, the main problem is not the fact that economic policy, but of our entire socio-political system and all of our lives. In the end, it’s public and parapublic monopoly created a demand for bad institutions across the country, corrupted the Executive, Parliament and judicial system, made in Russia large-scale redistribution of property covered with political slogans “fight against the oligarchy and the legacy of the 1990s”.

The main economic problems of the country — direct product of the monopoly structure of the economy. Resources and capital in the country, but monopolies, their inefficient use, creating a “dead zone” of low productivity and drive investment. In 2013 the total investment budget (about 2 trillion) and the ten largest public companies reached almost 5 trillion rubles., but even then, before the fall in oil prices and Western sanctions, the economy went to zero.

The reason is simple — monopolies have no incentive to effectively use capital, they can always “ask for more” in the form of increased regulated tariffs or subsidies from the state, led by their closest friends. In a monopoly economy, the idea that “government investment will be a source of growth,” crushing bankrupt. All these decades of monopoly was the cause of high inflation is to enumerate the negative implications of the fingers is not enough. Among them, the failure of the creation of a funded pension system, high interest rates, lack of trust in the economy and the lack in the Russian financial system long-term funds per se (the average length of the borrowed funds is only about one and a half years, so big money is to go either abroad or to the government).

Monopolies create the key barriers to the implementation of private investment projects — from entry to connect to the infrastructure. For some reason we are surprised ultrahigh interest rates on loans against the background of the seizure of the banking market in several major state-owned banks showing record profits in the face of continued economic decline. The Central Bank is afraid to lower the key rate, because he understands that in the monopolistic economy it will lead to the price. The problem of excessive monopolization goes far beyond the economy. For example, a couple of monopolies in the telecommunications sector helps the government to block the broadcasting of independent mass media, artificially keeping it bottled up social and political space that we have.

The elephant in the room

Can anything really change a set of ideas proposed by the FAS? Unlikely. First, FAS has long been discredited as an Agency that can really fight the monopoly. Last year, representatives FAS declared that the share of public sector in GDP reached 70% (at the Gaidar forum it was already about 75%), however, it is the competition authority all these years has given permission for numerous mergers and acquisitions that led to the monopolization and oligopolization key sectors. The latest example — have issued the “Rosneft” permit to purchase “Bashneft” as is “does not violate the antitrust laws”, although following the transaction the share of the dominant state-owned companies in oil production for the first time since Soviet times exceeded 40%. The same everywhere, from the consolidation of state-owned banks to strangling small retailers due to the expansion of trading networks, or the introduction of the “Platon”, the stifling of small carriers in favor of large transport companies.

Second, to compensate for their inability to deal with parastatal monopolies, the FAS are constantly satisfied with the discussion and adoption of all sorts of global “programs for competition development”. From the last — “action Plan (“roadmap”) “Development of competition and improving Antimonopoly policy”, approved by order of the government dated 28 December 2012. Current initiatives as possible to understand the continuation of such a policy.

The desire of FAS to use the issue of monopolization of the Russian economy to increase its hardware weight clear. However, the real fight for competition, they have little relevance. Not only given the fact that for 13 years the works of Igor Artemyev at the head of the FAS, the Agency, as already noted, gave the green light to all the actions of the Russian monopolies.

The fact that the main problem of development of competition in the Russian economy does not lie in the regulatory and structural plane. We need to decisively break up the monopolies and bring the allocated assets in the market to create a competitive environment. While this monopoly “the elephant in the room” remains the most important and entire sectors of the economy simply excluded from the competition, it is meaningless to discuss any additional regulatory authority, and improving laws. Everyone is talking about improving mechanisms of public procurement, but no one comes to mind: maybe consolidated budget are not worth almost 4 trillion rubles on the “national economy” (essentially a redistribution of money from economic agents, effective to ineffective), and just leave the money business by reducing taxes? And you don’t have to suffer with the “contests” on the expenditure of these funds, the business itself will distribute them.

Several months ago, Mikhail Khodorkovsky issued a detailed report about how to demonopolize the Russian economy, to create a truly competitive environment. However, we must understand that this is a question of political will and a new vision for the development strategy of the country. While the basic ideology of the state that the country rests on a few large monopolies, like the flat earth on turtles, any encroachments of the Antimonopoly authority to improve on the periphery to nothing lead. You need to seek the recognition of the fact that the Earth is round, no turtles there, and the key to improving productivity, efficiency of investment, reduction of inflation and the cost of credit — the destruction of the monopoly structure of the economy, which was consciously built in the last 15 years. Cosmetic measures will not help.


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