Saturday, June 23, 2007

FTC and Whole Foods

Here's a link to the Register's editorial on the Federal Trade Commissions's jihad against Whole Foods, the organic food chain.The FTC has filed suit to block Whole Foods' merger/acquisition with Wild Oats, a smaller and much less successful organic foods company, on antitrust grounds. If I had my druthers the antitrust laws would be repealed and we would rely on untrammeled entry rather than government micromanagement (which more often reduces rather than increases competitiveness in a market) to maintain competition. But even under the antitrust laws, the FTC had to come up with an eccentric definition of the supermarket/specialty marketplace to have a really stretched justification to oppose this merger.

The Register would take this position on a similar case no matter what we knew about the ideological propensities of the protagonists. But the fact that Whole Foods CEO John Mackey is a self-declared libertarian who wrote a piece for us last summer (which may be the real reason the FTC is attacking) makes it sweeter to defend him. Don't know whether it's wise or not (it seems to provoke the bureaucrats), but John Mackey has a lengthy and often-updated blog going at the Whole Foods Website.

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