Why do companies fix prices? Because
they can get away with it? Hmmm.
Blawgletter notes, with concern, that the U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division hasn't brought a single new price-fixing case in 2007. Worse, in all of 2006, the Division filed only one -- against a magazine paper manufacturer -- according to a review of its press releases. What has the group done instead? Pursued small-time bid-riggers and liars(!) and wrung its hands over whether antitrust laws inhibit monopolists too much.
Does Blawgletter believe that the lack of price-fixing prosecutions reflects less criminality? That cartels have ceased fixing prices and dividing markets? Or that less enforcement has encouraged voluntary compliance?
A believer in enforcement cycles, Blawgletter predicts that the conspiracies of that last several years will start coming to light in, oh, about mid-January 2009. Just a guess.