Former House majority leader Dick Armey has a great op-ed about the European perspective on competition that explains a great deal about why so little technological innovation is born in this once-great continent.
In the United States, the antitrust laws are premised on consumer harm. No consumer harm, no antitrust violation. Vibrant competition is the gold standard for U.S. authorities. Europe has a completely different take, as suggested by the fact that they require a "Commissioner of Competition." For Europe, managed competition is the ideal, with regulators taking an active role in designing the market and products that consumers ultimately can purchase. Dominant firms can compete, but not too hard. This world diminishes innovation for the sake of protecting big business, leaving consumers to bear the cost.
This distinction between Europe and the United States is more than a cultural quirk. It has substantial implications for American companies trying to survive in a global economy and a significant impact on consumers. Rather than consumer sovereignty, the European market is ruled by a web of regulations that undermines the efforts of American firms trying to design better products that attract customers. ...
Rather than listening quietly to European pleas for economic cooperation, U.S. officials should take the opportunity to expound on our own version of competition, which is a world dominated by consumers, not big business operating hand in glove with regulators. In an increasingly global marketplace, the United States cannot afford to capitulate to cooperate.
I completely agree with Armey's proposed solution. Just as our government needs to do more to promote other American values abroad, our country needs to fight for economic freedom and the free-market system.
(HT: Real Clear Politics.)