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Deregulation blues

Industry deregulation or market liberalisation are meant to bring about competition which should give customers choice.

But after the blackouts in California and the demise of the pro-deregulation champion, many wonder if deregulation really is the answer.

Not all countries are as pro-consumer choice as the US. Not everyone is variety-seeking or deal-prone.

Is choice the most important thing if you could lose it all?

Who cares which supplier is the cheapest if they could all go bankrupt? Who cares about choice if prices are unstable and unaffordable? Who dares to invest, if past performance is not an indicator of future performance, and the risk of default is high?

Beggars can't be choosers. If you don't have it, then you can't choose.

If you don't have a job, then you can't expect your next salary offer to compete with what you used to get in your last job.

In Europe, the safety net of the nanny state gives even the homeless the choice of being homeless. In Asia, the family is the safety net.

But in America, where rags to riches stories abound, many are determined to have choice the capitalist and democratic way.

But if you've lived in Europe or Asia for awhile, you might think that it's more important to keep what you have, rather than to go around shopping for something better.

21 February 2002 Thursday

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