Fair Competition Laws will Promote Innovation and Reduce Unfair Market Practices

Hi Jimmy,

Glad you found it useful and thanks for the feedback!

Actually I’d prefer to be of use to government right now (hehe) if at all possible because, as the saying goes, “better the devil you know” and no one knows what the future really has to offer (it could be  better – but it could also be worse).

I’m still optimistic enough to believe that the system can change from within, once the benefits of changing (e.g. political and economic stability) are considered more appealing to the key decision makers than the risks of maintaining status quo (persistent political volatility / economic instability).

An illuminating analogy of status quo (exclusive wealth) is building a mansion in the middle of Kibera/Mukuru slums… Are you building a paradise or a prison? This is where we are right now.

The alternative (inclusive wealth) is building a castle in Karen where, despite being exponentially more opulent than your neighbors, you can still enjoy your wealth peacefully and move freely without fearing – because everyone else is doing fine (and not experiencing horrific hardships).

Would corruption be less pervasive if everyone was generally well off? Can we leverage mass-scale opportunity creation as part of a multi-pronged strategy for fighting / mitigating corruption?

So another way of looking at state capture is to what extent is it benevolent or malevolent with respect to its net impact on the general population. The US was captured by Big Oil and Big Banks a long time ago – but they “ate responsibly” while prudently managing the economy (until about 40 years ago when it seems like greed overcame reason); China also looks like a captured economy (and yet it managed to bring 700 million people out of poverty in 40 years – though the human cost may need to be studied).
These issues are incredibly complex (and emotive – hence difficult to discuss with a positivist mindset). I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts – and learn from them – especially if their views are based on a rational analysis.

Good evening.
Brgds,Patrick.
Patrick A. M. Maina[Cross-domain Innovator | Independent Public Policy Analyst – Indigenous Innovations]

On Monday, June 24, 2019, 11:20:31 PM GMT+3, Jimmy Gitonga <jimmygitts@gmail.com> wrote:

Greetings Patrick,
Thank you for the robust and thoroughly enlightening discussion / writeup. I have been schooled anew. One day, when (not if) Kenya comes out of this period of blatant state capture, you will be of great use to us.

Best Regards,Jimmy Gitonga
Web Software Design and Development LinkedIn: Jimmy Gitonga | Twitter: @Afrowave______________________________________
Web: afroshok.com

On 24 Jun 2019, at 9:39 PM, kictanet-request@lists.kictanet.or.ke wrote:
From: “Patrick A. M. Maina” <pmaina2000@yahoo.com>
To: KICTAnet ICT Policy Discussions <kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke>,
Ali Hussein <ali@hussein.me.ke>
Subject: Re: [kictanet] [Fair Competition Laws will Promote Innovation
and Reduce Unfair Market Practices – the bill is not targeting a
particular company or product] Safaricom to be compelled to split
m-pesa business in new bill
Message-ID: <244168600.1182915.1561401395341@mail.yahoo.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=”utf-8″

Greetings Ali, and many thanks for your thoughts. 

One key attribute of high value debates is the presence of two (or more) opposing perspectives because diversity of thought often leads to a multi-dimensional understanding of complex issues, which (if leveraged with good intentions) can lead to high quality inputs for policies, strategies, regulations and/or decisions. So I truly welcome and appreciate your counter-perspective and rebuttal efforts. 🙂

Let me start with an African saying made famous by Chinua Achebe: “An elderly person is always uneasy when dry bones are mentioned in a proverb.”? 

Perhaps Ali, you can shed more light as to why the name of a particular company – and not any other(s) – came into your mind after reading my general comments about ruthless anti-competitive, anti-poor practices by monopolistic entities. Is there something you have observed or heard about their activities and/or practices?

Why would public-interest regulation be interpreted as targeting specific companies – unless it is some kind of admission or assertion that those companies could indeed be acting (or causing negative externalities) against public interest? 

Retrogressive externalities could be an unforeseen and/or unintentional by-product of a sub-optimized network-effects success model and poor economic master-planning (see links #1-7). Furthermore corporations, in different parts of the world, have also been known for purposeful malevolent activities when they fear of competition/disruption especially when operating within a? weak / outdated institutional / antitrust framework. Specifics would need to be studied on a case by case basis.

Have you considered the timing of the bill (in context of recent industry developments)? The proposed rules could actually *benefit* the very local corporate entities that would supposedly be motivated to resist them. In the global scale, our “tech giants” are like MSMEs and they get to be on the receiving end of mega-scale cross-border corporate tyranny. 

There is an interesting story of certain well known CEO’s visit to Africa. A lot of people thought he was coming to look for investment opportunities and they cheerfully welcomed him (full VVIP+ treatment), took him on tours, demoed innovations, snapped selfies and eagerly answered his questions – hoping to dazzle, awe and impress him. Kumbe he was on a mission to gather economic intelligence – and he openly stated so (meaning you can’t claim illegality) – leaving people to form their own self-deluded conclusions as to why he was doing it. Several years later, his company launches a product that will directly compete with ours at an unprecedented game-changing scale! There are so many stories like this in Africa, the script remains the same, only the actors, props and victims keep changing. 

It is quite embarrassing just how easy we make it for others to *repeatedly* plunder our ideas/insights or compete with us unfairly – to our own collective detriment – yet we always speak of a “knowledge economy” without taking time to understand what that *really* means. 

“Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” – old proverb.

Africa’s centuries-old commitment to gullibility and ignorance is unparalleled and quite disturbing (see links #8-15). We are among the very few (if not the only) modern-day societies that never seem to learn from history. We welcome plunderers / economic spies with pomp, ceremony and color, and we happily give them everything they need to subjugate and impoverish us. Like little children, we accept sweet words as proof of benevolent intent and our shallow vanity makes us take pride that everyone is interested in learning from us (surely that means we are very important and smart – if others want to study us and everything we know, right?), yet we don’t take as much – or more – interest in learning from them or asking ourselves uncomfortable questions, such as: “why is the student always teaching the teacher?”… and most worryingly, we see voices of reason, desperately scrambling to wake us up – as party-pooping troublemakers. Quite depressing, but I digress.. 

Ali, your argument on state capture suggests a limited understanding on how state capture comes about or what really it is (see links #8-15). Essentially you are contradicting yourself because it is good (uncorrupted) public-interest regulations, strong government institutions (not beholden to a few private interests) and a socio-political commitment to fair and sensible rules – motivated by public-interest? – that minimize the risk of state capture. 

State capture is enabled by corruption, unchecked corporate power and corporate lobbying against public interest, which leads to regulatory (and market) failure e.g. due to bad laws that have loopholes purposefully designed in to them – or good laws getting blocked from enactment. 

I urge you to read more on the topic if you are interested in it (there are some good links below that you can start with) to gain a better understanding so you can offer more robust arguments/rebuttals without unwittingly demolishing or contradicting your main argument.
Have a great evening. 

Brgd,Patrick

Patrick A. M. Maina[Cross-domain Innovator | Independent Public Policy Analyst – Indigenous Innovations]
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