The Wacky World Of Government Antitrust
1. In the case of Apple and five major book publishers
, the government claims that collusive behavior led to higher e-book prices for consumers, and the participants are being charged with price-fixing.
2. In the case of taxi and limousine companies in Nashville
, a federal judge has upheld the collusive, price-fixing practices of the established limo and taxi companies that have conspired with the help of local government officials to impose a $45-per-trip minimum fare. The taxi cartel wants to squash the competition from some new, smaller upstart companies who were challenging the cartel with discount fares of $25. (See recent related CD post
3. In the case of Safeway in California, a lawsuit by the retailer’s rivals has been filed accusing Safeway of “unfair business practices” for selling gasoline at prices that are “too low” and “below cost.” If the plaintiffs prevail, a Bay Area judge may force Safeway to raise its gas prices, because “prices below cost” are illegal under the Unfair Practices Act.
So in some cases the government enables incumbent producers like limousine companies to engage in collusive behavior and fix high prices, and in other cases it brings charges against book publishers for collusive behavior and fixing high prices, and in other cases it might find retailers like Safeway guilty of charging low prices and force them to charge higher prices? Welcome to the wacky world of antitrust.