March 01, 2004
The OFT isn't

The independent schools are getting grief from the "Office of Fair Trading". Perry de Havilland comments here.

This brings to mind that old chestnut of a complaint about government interference in markets. If you have lower prices than your competitors, you are "undercutting" them and indulging in unfair competition. If you charge more than your competitors, you are indulging in predatory pricing. If you charge the same as your competitors, you are indulging in collusion.

The complaint this time is that independent schools are colluding.

The Office of Fair Trading is nothing of the kind. Independent schools should stay independent, and should be allowed to charge whatever they like for their services. If they all get together and agree to the same price, that should be their right. If you think they are all overcharging, then set up a school and undercut them yourself. The only morally decent way to interfere in a market is to participate in it. Otherwise, butt out.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 10:49 PM
Category: Politics