|Switzerland, not the Land of Competition|
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With such a small, fragmented market, competition is not the driving force of commerce in Switzerland. Rather, it is price fixing agreements and cartels that rule, and the consumer who pays the price. Importers commonly double the price of the goods and retailers double it again. But they have allies to help maintain this system.
Take a simple water faucet imported from Germany or Italy. The consumer will pay four times the factory price and the plumber who installs it will often receive a commission of 15 to 20%, to ensure that the specialist will not try to rock the boat. No surprise that The Economist’s “Big Mac Index” tends to give the top prize for the most expensive burger in the world to Switzerland.
Of course the vast number of oligopolies in Switzerland has been the target of federal regulations, but it seems that the Federal Cartel Commission has so few resources and such little power that it limits its efforts to the counting of cartels.
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