Dublin, Ireland – Financieel adviseur Eddy Hobbs heeft een nieuwe TV-show op RTE, Rip Off Republic, die Ierse collectivisten erg, erg kwaad maakt. Het is dan ook niet elke dag dat hun staatsomroep wordt ‘misbruikt’ door een man die stelt dat de vele reguleringen om het publiek en de kleine ondernemer te beschermen alleen slechte gevolgen hebben en dat ‘de gewone man’ sterk gebaat zou zijn bij meer Vrije Markt.
Hieronder wat fragmenten uit de eerste show van afgelopen maandag:
The Competition Authority has estimated that the Groceries Order, which bans below-cost selling, costs the average Irish household up to ¤481 a year. The Groceries Order is a relic from an era of protectionism, weak economic performance and national insecurity, when protection from competition was clung to like a safety blanket. This was supposed to protect the smaller shops in Ireland but the reality is that those small shops are now frachised branches of Spar, Centra or Londis. This is one of the reasons that a basket of goods in Ireland is 20% more expensive than in Europe.
The order does not affect fresh produce like meat, fruit and vegetables, but covers standard grocery goods, including alcohol. So even something like nappies are prevented from dropping in price as they make up part of these groceries.
The successful prosecution of two supermarkets in January 2004 for providing discounts on baby food is a perfect example of why the Groceries Order needs to be abolished. If this logic was applied in other sectors, for example clothes, it would make post-Christmas sales a criminal activity.
Anyone who is in any doubt about the significance of the Hobbs phenomenon need only have watched his recent appearance on Tubridy Tonight when Ryan Tubridy’s youthful audience welcomed him with a very warm round of applause.
It would appear that Hobbs is no longer merely a financial adviser and commentator, rather he has morphed into a fully-fledged TV celebrity with an enthusiastic fan club. The secret to Hobbs’s broadcasting success is partly down to his exuberant iconoclasm, his ability to simplify complex issues into accessible soundbites and a detailed knowledge of how business works.
But it is also down to the fact that he has found a ready audience among a relatively new grouping in Irish society: namely, the mass affluent. It is a group that instinctively suspects that it is not getting a fair deal from big business, but doesn’t quite trust the regulatory authorities to ensure that it does.
The needs of this audience for independent advice are only being partially met by the regulatory authorities, partly because the public is naturally sceptical of government agencies in the first place and partly because of the well-documented tendency of regulators to be hijacked by vested interests.
Volgens Hobbs is het hoog tijd dat de Ierse mededingingsraad de mogelijkheid krijgt om haar regering voor het gerecht te dagen en Socialisme, Protectionisme en Corporatisme naar de puinhopen van de geschiedenis te verwijzen.
Ripp off Republic wordt op maandag avonden uitgezonden op RTE1, 10:30 Nederlandse tijd.