Milton Friedman will be turning in his grave as a report published this week seems to imply that his laissez-faire economic stance doesn’t work.
The OFT’s report into government procurement of IT says little more than the plethora of similar reports published in the last couple of years.
However what did strike me is how the reference to suppliers co-ordinating tacitly to fix prices. The report suggests that although there is no evidence suppliers could be dampening competition through “implicit understanding of each others’ future actions, rather than through arrangements.” In other words they know what each other will do so they deliberately and covertly keep prices at a level that suits them.
If the suppliers are left alone and prices are related to supply and demand then surely the price will reach the right level. Unless the private companies have it in their collective interest to prevent this from happening. So capitalism doesn’t work then?
Here are a couple of articles I wrote about the report.