May 5, 2009

Monopolies, Corporations and the Italian Malaise

"American regulators are examining the close links between Apple and Google, reports the New York Times. It's no secret that Apple and Google share two board members: Eric Schmidt, Google's chief executive, and Arthur Levinson (formerly of Genentech), but the rules on whether such ties promote anti-competitive behaviour are now being looked into."

Corporations on the rise!


It is encouraging to notice that someone is still concerned about competition, trusts and monopolies.
Since the crisis started we have been witnessing corporations merging, buying and consolidating as they wish will little or no oversight. All this has been justified in the context of the economical crisis and supporting the faulty logic that if they do not grow gigantic they will not survive this crisis.
There will be a new anti-trust regulation when and if the crisis will end to prevent a handful of companies to control an entire sector of the economy? The answer will be most certainly NO! Since by then they will be too big to be split and too big to be controlled by any authority or government. Phase II of the corporation evolution has started in September 2008 and although at the moment we see them as victims of this crisis It will not take long to see clearly that they are a dangerous concentration of power and wealth.

The Italian Malaise

If USA poses itself the dilemma of competition and monopolies, in Italy there is no discussion on these issues at all. Italy has more problems with unfair competition and monopolies than US.
A peculiar distortion of the Italian market is the possibility for a member of the board or a CEO to serve simultaneously in different companies. Some of them even serving at the same time in competing companies. Any other country would see this as a disaster for the company since the chances for inside trading, competition manipulation and corruption are endless. Not a problem in Italy since most of the members are chosen or imposed politically and on the basis of the leverage they can bring to the company. Ethical considerations are still non-existent in Italian companies. The stock exchange in Milan is one big happy family manipulating balances and defrauding.
Parmalat crack brought to the attention of the world the incredible corruption and manipulations of the Italian financial market but still this is the tip of the iceberg.
The system is practically rotten, overburdened with debt and the only reason it is still surviving is due to the fact the Italy is a paradise for crooks, balance frauds and book cooking are no longer prosecuted and it is a common practice. The Italian financial system is all image with no substance, this economical crisis will bring more and more cracks on the facade of this house of cards.
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