February 18, 2005
Strange Economic Views at the Commission.
The Swedish Saddhu, otherwise known in these parts as the Blessed Margot, graces the interwebnetthingie with further evidence of her slightly confused view of matters economic. Leave aside her views on the Kyoto Treaty (somehow, the spending of trillions of dollars to delay warming by 6 years just doesn’t sound all that effective, if you know what I mean) and consider her second subject:
Thursday I was handing out leaflets in two airports (and yes – I do recognize how emissions from airlines contribute to global warming…!) about a new EU-regulation on strengthening air-passenger rights. Passengers are always the weakest part in dealing with the airlines. This regulation clarifies their rights. A deregulated market for air travel has created a bigger need for consumer/passenger protection.
Even the sceptics acknowledge the added value of action at EU-level to improve passenger rights to compensation for flights that are delayed, cancelled or overbooked. 250.000 people were denied boarding because of overbooking in 2002!
I’d just like to go on record as stating that this sceptic does not acknowledge the added value of action at EU-level (not that I do that very often anyway, but certainly not in this case).
For one, I believe that the Blessed Fragrant One is paid some 225,000 euros a year as a Vice President of the Commission. Take off holidays (I assumed 15 bank holidays and 20 paid days leave) and 104 days of weekends and this is as near as damn it a thousand euros a day. Or 125 euros an hour for a standard eight hour working day. Now I realise that the fantasy world which us male Anglos inhabit has few connections with reality, that not all Swedish women are both blonde and championship naked volleyball players, but I will admit to thinking that we could probably find comely blonde matrons at something closer to 12.5 euros an hour to hand out leaflets in airports.
Perhaps this is just my innate prejudices (or as Mr S&M would say, my Bayesian priors) but there is little surprise at my finding that the European Union does things in a manner ten times more expensive than the manner in which anyone else would do it.
The more important economic point is that we do seem to be ruled by those completely and intensely ignorant of the most basic economic points. A deregulated market for air travel has created a bigger need for consumer/passenger protection. I beg your pardon? I can just about manage the idea that there should be regulation to protect consumers from a monopoly supplier, certainly follow the thought that where there is a monopoly, one should attempt to break it up, and in those rare cases where it is a natural one, to limit its ability to gouge said consumer. But to state that competetive markets, where consumer pressure, competition, are the very things that keep suppliers in line, means that there should be more regulation than in a monopolistic market, well, no, I’m sorry, but this is nonsense, nonsense on stilts as was said a number of years ago by another blonde female politician.
I covered this new set of rules yesterday in more detail and put forward the idea that this was a backdoor method of protection for the legacy airlines against the budget ones. In fact, I was a little stronger than that:
We are ruled by incompetents, dunderheads who really believe, in the most drooling, slack-jawed, manner possible, that competetiveness and competition are improved by protecting the incumbents and their price structure from the terriers snapping at their heels.
Sadly, however fragrant, blessed, or blonde they are, this does appear to be true.
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Margot Wallström has apparently been rubbing elbows with the Hare Krishnas: Thursday I was handing out leaflets in two airports (and yes – I do recognize how emissions from airlines contribute to global warming…!) about a new EU-regulation on streng... [Read More]
Tracked on Feb 18, 2005 10:12:51 PM
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Welcome to the President's Day edition of Carnival of the Capitalists, the weekly round-up of business and economics blogs. While you're here, please take a look at a few of the other posts. The Raw Prawn primarily deals with business, economics, ... [Read More]
Tracked on Feb 21, 2005 5:47:07 AM
My name is Anoneumouse, and I am a misogynist too :o)
Posted by: Anoneumouse | Feb 18, 2005 9:11:20 PM
"20 days paid leave"? - I doubt its even legal to give so little time off.....
Tim adds: That’s four weeks isn’t it?
Posted by: Rob Hayward | Feb 19, 2005 6:32:19 AM