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Print 155 comment(s) - last by mindless1.. on Jan 21 at 10:48 PM

France tells Amazon to stop shipping books for free or pay up; Amazon pays up

Amazon.com, one of the largest stores online, offers several features that entice buyers to purchase there, such as "one-click purchasing" and free shipping on many items. While Amazon's multiple attempts to patent "one-click purchasing" has drawn no small amount of ire, the offer of free shipping has been lauded as a beneficial attribute -- until now.

Amazon.com's French website Amazon.fr currently stands in violation of a 1981 French law prohibiting certain discounts on books. The ruling by the French High Court contained two fines -- a one-time lump sum payment of €100,000 to the French Bookseller's Union, and a fine of €1,000 per day until the offending "free shipping" promotion is ended. While the proverbial gavel banged on December 12th, a "grace period" until mid-January gave them time to "correct the problem" and respond.

Amazon indeed responded -- but with defiance rather than compliance.

The 1981 Lang Law in France prohibits several type of discounts on books, including "loss leaders" -- selling a book below cost -- and offering a discount of more than 5% off the list price. With the "free shipping" discount factored in, France officials found Amazon in violating this law; but rather than raise their prices and risk losing customers, Amazon decided to hold fast.  The company opted to pay the €1,000 per day fine.

Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos wrote an email calling attention to the fact that "France would be the only country in the world where the free delivery practiced by Amazon would be declared illegal" and invites customers to sign an online petition stating their support of free shipping.

While Amazon's fight may seem noble, the current value of the fine is fixed for thirty days only. At that time, it will be "adjusted" ... and likely in an upward direction.



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f the effing French
By anotherdude on 1/18/2008 12:26:52 PM , Rating: 3
nuff said




RE: f the effing French
By mcnabney on 1/18/2008 12:42:21 PM , Rating: 2
Typical European competitive actions. If you can't beat foreign competition, fine them.


RE: f the effing French
By cochy on 1/18/08, Rating: -1
RE: f the effing French
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 1/18/2008 12:58:12 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
The same law applies to all companies operating in France from what this article says. So it's not about foreign competition.

It sort of does though. The law states that a place cannot sell books on a loss leader. This typically means less than MSRP or at least less than what everyone else is selling at.

Maybe the rules are different in France -- here in the U.S. selling things at below cost is considered predatory pricing on the macro.

Of course, there's also the argument that Amazon is not selling books below cost, and that the free shipping is factored into its business model. After seeing some of Amazon's warehouses, I'm pretty sure they're still making money even on the free shipping items. There's not a single person in there, it's all run by robots.

From the background I read, this really does scream "my local French bookstore can't compete, let's drum up a lawsuit based on an antiquated law."


RE: f the effing French
By BMFPitt on 1/18/2008 1:34:25 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Maybe the rules are different in France -- here in the U.S. selling things at below cost is considered predatory pricing on the macro.
Here in the US, the "French Booksellers Union" would be an illegal price-fixing monopoly.

Predatory pricing is usually considered as losing money in order to cause your competitors to lose more. Amazon makes money selling what they sell, they just have a more efficient business model.


RE: f the effing French
By Zelvek on 1/18/2008 3:00:41 PM , Rating: 5
Then how do you justify the MPAA and RIAA?


RE: f the effing French
By Ryanman on 1/18/2008 3:07:58 PM , Rating: 5
We don't. Everyone despises the MPAA and the RIAA and the vast majority of tech savvy users do eveything they can to hurt those organizations.


RE: f the effing French
By Zelvek on 1/18/2008 3:12:26 PM , Rating: 3
yet they are still legal entities in your own country making you no better.


RE: f the effing French
By Spuke on 1/18/2008 3:18:41 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
yet they are still legal entities in your own country making you no better.
Not the same thing. We didn't vote them into existence. You think we would voluntarily vote for organizations whose sole existence is to sue us?


RE: f the effing French
By Strunf on 1/18/2008 7:54:27 PM , Rating: 2
The "Bookselling association" in France is not mandatory, you may not be part of it if you so wish.

It's EXACTLY the same thing as RIAA, an organization that exist to "protect" the interest of its members.


RE: f the effing French
By BMFPitt on 1/19/2008 11:26:06 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The "Bookselling association" in France is not mandatory, you may not be part of it if you so wish.
Really, now? You should probably let Amazon and the judge know they can just opt out, then.


RE: f the effing French
By masher2 (blog) on 1/18/2008 3:28:13 PM , Rating: 5
> "...making you no better."

Record companies freely choose to join the RIAA, and artists freely choose to sign with RIAA-affiliated bands. In the US, there are thousands of artists *not* with these

In France, however, you don't have the choice to not be affected by the Lang Law....even if both author and publisher wish not to be.


RE: f the effing French
By Strunf on 1/18/2008 7:59:11 PM , Rating: 1
OMG what a dumb anology...

In France you're not forced to be part of any association either... just like in the case of the RIAA if you so wish you can go all by yourself, however unions make it easier to protect yourself and that's why they exist.

"In France, however, you don't have the choice to not be affected by the Lang Law"
Lang Law is a law enacted by the government, if you guys in the US have the choice to be affected by a law or not, good for you but in most countries the law is the same for everyone.


RE: f the effing French
By masher2 (blog) on 1/18/2008 11:02:09 PM , Rating: 2
> "OMG what a dumb anology..."

Had you read the thread, you'd have seen you're agreeing with me; trying to draw an comparison between the Lang Law and the RIAA is indeed "dumb". The two are in no manner analogous.


RE: f the effing French
By JoeBanana on 1/19/2008 5:22:59 AM , Rating: 2
He was trying to make an anology between "bookselling association" and RIAA not RIAA and Lang Law.


RE: f the effing French
By B3an on 1/20/2008 6:47:17 AM , Rating: 4
Just give up. The vast majority of the people on here are americans. Whatever you say that points out something remotely bad about there country will fall on ignorant deaf ears and get rated down, while bad things about over countries will get rated up - as perfectly demonstrated. You cant get through to these xenophobic people that think they're are above everyone else.


RE: f the effing French
By theapparition on 1/21/2008 7:58:09 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The vast majority of the people on here are americans.

Yes they are. And most americans have pride in their country, just as you have in yours. But don't dismiss other's opinions. For all it's faults, the US is still looked at as THE model of democracy. That can't be disputed.

quote:
Whatever you say that points out something remotely bad about there country will fall on ignorant deaf ears and get rated down, while bad things about over countries will get rated up - as perfectly demonstrated.

Whenever I see a law that limits my selection, adds inconvience, and increases my cost, I'm going to fight against it. Doesn't matter what country your from, you should be able to see that. If for some reason, I want to support the local bookstore, since they provide better service or ammenities, that is my choice. Not one for the government to force on me, reguardless if that law was in the US or France. It just so happens this law is French, and as such, they should be taken to task for it.

quote:
You cant get through to these xenophobic people that think they're are above everyone else.

Your talking about the French, right?
I don't know even where to begin, but no other EU country has passed as many laws requiring French quotas on everything from TV, radio, movies, media, and even food content. In the US, there are plenty of stations that broadcast completely in Spanish. My cable company offers over 200 channels in languges other than "English". There are pleny of foreign cars on the road, and our trade deficit speaks volumes on to our lack of xenophobia.


RE: f the effing French
By frobizzle on 1/21/2008 10:16:51 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
no other EU country has passed as many laws requiring French quotas on everything from TV, radio, movies, media, and even food content.

That's absolutely true so what is the problem with your point? Perhaps the French government is making an effort at protecting their citizen's jobs by limiting the influx of foreign goods? How is that so bad? Maybe if the morons in Washington took half as much interest in trying to preserve American jobs, there wouldn't be this dependence on China! You want to argue NAFTA is a good thing? Maybe for Mexico it is, maybe for the greedy US corporations it is but for the American citizens out of a job, NAFTA (and all the other so-called free trade agreements) is a tragedy!

Before you start dissing me, understand I am an American but totally fed up with the way our government is constantly selling out its people!

(Okay...let the mod-down begin! LOL!)


RE: f the effing French
By rcc on 1/21/2008 1:21:42 PM , Rating: 1
That's really quite funny. If an American hints at anything that doesn't support a "global" economy he/she/it gets roasted. Now you're bitching at them for the opposite. Whatever. : )

As far as NAFTA and China go? Ask the Dems, they dun it.


RE: f the effing French
By mindless1 on 1/21/2008 10:19:29 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps you are only referring to crowds on certain websites, because in my experience it is usually the opposite that many Americans do support a non-global economy (when it comes to losing jobs, but then back to a global one when they go to Walmart to get their cheap Chinese made goods).


RE: f the effing French
By BMFPitt on 1/18/2008 3:42:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Then how do you justify the MPAA and RIAA?
With millions in bri...campaign contributions.

But seriously, the equivalent would be the MPAA forcing Best Buy to sell at no less than 95% of the list price (I believe this is still $35 per DVD.)


RE: f the effing French
By masher2 (blog) on 1/18/2008 1:43:13 PM , Rating: 5
> "From the background I read, this really does scream "my local French bookstore can't compete, let's drum up a lawsuit based on an antiquated law"

France's Lang Law was originally passed in 1981 for just that reason: to protect French bookstores from competition from large international Supermarket chains that were just beginning to offer discounted books. Rather than being designed specifically against foreign competition, it's more intended as a punishment for success-- a clear theme in French legislation.

Interestingly enough, one of the original justifications for the law was that Supermarkets could offer only a limited number of books, and thus it was needed to "protect consumer access" to a variety of books. Now we see the law being used to hinder the vendors with by far the largest selection of books: Internet vendors.

Faites attention ce que vous souhaitez...


RE: f the effing French
By Oregonian2 on 1/18/2008 1:47:42 PM , Rating: 5
In France, the bookshop around the corner would have survived the coming of Fox Books.

:-)


RE: f the effing French
By masher2 (blog) on 1/18/2008 2:00:50 PM , Rating: 5
I also want to point out France is the same nation that, in 1996, passed a law to shut down radio stations which were primarily playing American rock music. It requires 60% of the content played to be European, and 40% to be directly in French.

France also has a similar quota on French films shown in theatres.


RE: f the effing French
By misuspita on 1/18/2008 5:10:13 PM , Rating: 4
I don't think that the law stating that X% airplay should be in own language or European music is a bad thing.

I live in another country, but here (Romania) the law is the same. And I like it. Because the radio is not what it used to be. Music from the people for the people. Independent stations airing whatever the DJ's thought it's good. Scratch that. Nowadays, after the Networks came in and bought everything, all we listen to the radio is the saaaaame bull**** over and over again. 10 songs in "heavy-rotation". All day. Every station. Only the little ones play something different, but they do not have coverage or a network to be heard on the road. And since all the networks are foreign, if it weren't the law, all day I'd hear only Rihanna, 50 Cent , Timbaland, etc... or whatever artist the networks "promote". Mostly from USA. NOT Romanian! I don't have anything with said artists or with the fact they're from the States. I'm sure I would actually love to hear them if they wouldn't suffocate us every freakin' hour, every freakin' day. So actually the law here does good, protects romanian artists and also let people hear something else. Sometimes, that is...

So, yeah, it's a protectionist measure, from the Music monopolies that came and bought the radio in my country. :)


RE: f the effing French
By PitViper007 on 1/19/2008 11:03:00 AM , Rating: 3
It's not really different here in the US. A vast majority of radio stations here are owned by one company (Clear Channel) and they've limited the music played to basically the top 40 of whatever genre that station happens to play. It's a big reason I don't listen to the radio much any more.


RE: f the effing French
By theapparition on 1/21/2008 7:34:07 AM , Rating: 3
It doesn't work that way.
People think that companies somehow "force" their products and will upon the consumers. By playing "american" music, you are somehow holding "Romanian" music down? Not true.

Radio station play what they want for ratings. Ratings bring in advertising revenue, which means money. How do they get ratings? They attract listeners. If listeners want that american top 40 crap, then so be it. They'll play whatever is in demand to get those ratings. If you don't like what their playing, you switch to a station you do. The Romanian people have spoken, and by majority (but for government quota) prefer top 40 repetitous junk. So you've noone to blame but your own people for what they choose to listen to.

It is no different here in the US. American Idol is the #1 TV program. I can't stand it, and think the whole thing is a joke (BTW, american idol is based on a british show--and they call the US xenophobes!). As much as I dislike it, it is vastly popular, and what is popular sells. Period.


RE: f the effing French
By Adonlude on 1/18/2008 6:33:17 PM , Rating: 5
Hell, I wouldn't mind that law in America! Give me 1% or less spanish radio and TV stations please.


RE: f the effing French
By Polynikes on 1/18/2008 2:33:03 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
The 1981 Lang Law in France prohibits several type of discounts on books, including "loss leaders" -- selling a book below cost -- and offering a discount of more than 5% off the list price.

That made me throw up in my mouth a little. Wow. I am so glad I'm living in a country with proper freedom (including a much more free market). God forbid someone sells an item below list price.


RE: f the effing French
By Murst on 1/18/08, Rating: -1
RE: f the effing French
By Murst on 1/18/2008 2:58:15 PM , Rating: 2
Slight correction... not below MSRP but below MAP (minimum advertised price).

In the case of french booksellers, this would equal MSRP*0.95 . In the case of manufacturers like Bose in the US, it is actually equal to MSRP.

In any case, laws like this shouldn't exist.


RE: f the effing French
By Christopher1 on 1/18/08, Rating: 0
RE: f the effing French
By masher2 (blog) on 1/18/2008 3:04:45 PM , Rating: 5
> "I assume you don't live in the US, cause the same thing happens here."

Oops-- Leegin vs. Kay's is an entirely different matter. The French law allows the government to mandate specific prices. Break the law, and you can face government-imposed fines or even potentially jail time.

The Leegin decision, on the other hand, doesn't relate to any law at all. It merely allows the manufacturer of a product to set a minimum price. If a vendor chooses to sell for less, the manufacturer has the right to suspend future shipments. It's a contractual issue, not a criminal matter.

Sell a product for under the MSRP in the US, and the government can do nothing to you at all. One system respects liberty; the other does not.


RE: f the effing French
By Murst on 1/18/2008 3:15:24 PM , Rating: 2
Wait, you're saying that the French government decides the price of the books? Sorry, but that's just too funny.

Also, whether this is a contractual or criminal matter makes no difference to the consumer. The net effect is the same.

This problem occurs in the US, and it occurs in France (and a lot of other countries too).


RE: f the effing French
By Murst on 1/18/2008 3:18:06 PM , Rating: 1
Oops, I thought you said decides instead of mandates.

Well... in the case of "mandating", it is no different than the US "mandating" the price via contractual law. The problem is that such extensions to contractual law should never exist in the first place, and they really are no different than the French law in the case of the bookseller union.


RE: f the effing French
By masher2 (blog) on 1/18/2008 3:32:46 PM , Rating: 3
> "it is no different than the US "mandating" the price via contractual law."

Of course it is. You sell something, you "mandate" the price it's sold at. That's freedom. When the government mandates the price, that's socialism.

In the US, some *other* person or company can decide not to follow that pricing structure, and sell for less. In France, it cannot.

Only the government can mandate laws, and therefore only a government can restrict freedom. Despite the Leegin case, there is no "minimum legal price" for clothing in the US....thousands of other manufacturers sell for less.


RE: f the effing French
By Murst on 1/18/2008 3:41:03 PM , Rating: 1
Your comparison makes no sense.

Take Bose speakers for example (I'm using them cause I'm not familiar with specific clothing brands). When Bose sets a price, retailers cannot sell for less. Sure, there are other speaker manufacturers, but it doesn't change the fact that all Bose speakers with model number XYZ must sell for price ABC.

It is exactly the same with the French and books. If the price of book ABC is XYZ, that book cannot be sold for less than 95% of the XYZ price. Sure, there may be other books at the lower price, but you still cannot buy book ABC for less.

Just as you say that there is no minimum legal price for clothing in the US, there is no minimum legal price for books in france either. It is all based off of MSRP.


RE: f the effing French
By straycat74 on 1/18/2008 3:51:25 PM , Rating: 2
It seems you missed the point between Government and a corporation.


RE: f the effing French
By BMFPitt on 1/18/2008 3:54:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It is exactly the same with the French and books. If the price of book ABC is XYZ, that book cannot be sold for less than 95% of the XYZ price. Sure, there may be other books at the lower price, but you still cannot buy book ABC for less.
But in the US it's Bose that is making these demands. Bose doing it only makes business better for Onkyo. In the case of French books, Radio Shack and Tweeter get together to have the government force everyone else to have their same inflated prices.


RE: f the effing French
By Murst on 1/18/2008 4:46:21 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
But in the US it's Bose that is making these demands. Bose doing it only makes business better for Onkyo. In the case of French books, Radio Shack and Tweeter get together to have the government force everyone else to have their same inflated prices.

Not so.

Bose would still be forcing Radio Shack, Tweeter, and everyone else to have inflated prices, just as they do now. There is really absolutely no difference between the effects of the laws.

The only difference is in the practice of these laws. Whereas in the US it is only a few manufacturers that impose minimum prices, all books in France have a minimum price.

However, the fundamentals in the legal system allow for both of these to take place, and they're both wrong. There should not be anything that prevents a retailer from selling a product that they bought from a manufacturer (at least on the basis of price). That is true capitalism. Anything else where the minimum price is enforced is definetally not capitalistic behavior.


RE: f the effing French
By pomaikai on 1/18/2008 5:04:30 PM , Rating: 2
There is a huge difference. This has nothing to do with fixing the price of one item or company. They are fixing the lowest price on everything. Nothing can drop below 95% MSRP. Thats like a government saying you cannot offer have a sale more than 5% off any speaker, not just bose.

This is nothing like the RIAA or MPAA. When was the last time you seen a sale cap on CD or DVD in the US.

Every country has screwed up laws. Now that everything is international we can all see that everyone is just as screwed up as we are.


RE: f the effing French
By masher2 (blog) on 1/18/2008 5:15:33 PM , Rating: 3
> "Bose would still be forcing Radio Shack, Tweeter, and everyone else to have inflated prices, just as they do now. There is really absolutely no difference between the effects of the laws."

Bose can only affect the price of Bose products. They could have the same effect simply by raising the price they charge the retailer. And their effect on other products would still be zero. Zip. Nada. Zilch.

There is a vast difference in the two cases which everyone but you seems to realize. A company cannot "force" another to set a specific price. In your example, Bose can't put Tweeter executives in jail for undercutting prices...all they can do is exercise their own freedom by denying to sell to Tweeter in the future.


RE: f the effing French
By ElFenix on 1/18/2008 6:07:28 PM , Rating: 2
to be fair, the book publisher sets the price, and then book retailers can't set a price below 95% of that price.

the crucial difference between a US contract action for violating MAP and the french law is that only the parties to the contract can institute a breach of contract action. that is, only Bose can sue its retailers for violating the MAP provision that the retailer agreed to. retailers often do sell before the MAP, just take a look at any fry's ad, you'll commonly see a 'Price before discount.'

the french law seems to allow anyone to complain, or the government to initiate the action itself.

furthermore, the leegin case does not say that all MAP restrictions are legal. it says that MAP restrictions will be analyzed under a 'rule of reason' test to determine if they violate anti-trust laws. MAP restrictions could still be found to be illegal. it could be that there is no situation where they are legal, just that the lawyers have to make more arguments than the per se illegality of the previous regime.


RE: f the effing French
By PitViper007 on 1/19/2008 11:10:30 AM , Rating: 2
Of course there's a difference. With Bose determining the price of their products, that price ONLY affects Bose products. With the French law, THE ENTIRE BOOK INDUSTRY is affected. Pretty straight forward to me.


RE: f the effing French
By mindless1 on 1/21/2008 10:26:36 PM , Rating: 2
There have been exceptions in the US, like milk prices.


RE: f the effing French
By Polynikes on 1/21/2008 10:56:25 AM , Rating: 2
I don't see fines being levied by the government when Amazon.com sells items below MSRP (or MAP, or whatever it is) in the US. There is a huge difference between what's happening here and what's happening in France.


RE: f the effing French
By omnicronx on 1/18/2008 2:43:45 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It sort of does though. The law states that a place cannot sell books on a loss leader. This typically means less than MSRP or at least less than what everyone else is selling at.
Correct me if I am wrong, but would having to translate the books into french, allow these french companies to set the MRSPS as they please?
Whats stopping them from knowingly setting MSRP's higher with full knowledge that other non french companies won't be able to use their normal business strategies.

If amazon was taking a loss on these books, why would they shrug off the fines and continue to keep selling books with free shipping.


RE: f the effing French
By eye smite on 1/18/2008 1:12:50 PM , Rating: 3
I'm kinda with the first guy on this one. Just for grins, amazon should make all books bought and sent to France be published in the german language. Just to set a fire under their pants and piss them off. It's ok for them to act chilidish and no one really complains or holds them accountable, but if america does something they don't like, the whole EU gets up in arms about it. So why not, piss em off, it's healthy.


RE: f the effing French
By ZoZo on 1/18/2008 1:23:35 PM , Rating: 2
If Amazon does that, everyone will just turn to FNAC or Alapage. So they can try, it won't matter much.


RE: f the effing French
By Spuke on 1/18/2008 2:01:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If Amazon does that, everyone will just turn to FNAC or Alapage. So they can try, it won't matter much.
If it doesn't matter, why bother to "compete" in that type of environment? If the French people prefer smaller bookstores, let them have the smaller bookstores.

I honestly think it's a waste of time and resources for an American company to do business in ANY country that you are not welcome.


RE: f the effing French
By ZoZo on 1/18/2008 2:06:25 PM , Rating: 2
FNAC and Alapage are not smaller bookstores, they are large online retailers, and are direct competitors of Amazon.


RE: f the effing French
By Spuke on 1/18/2008 2:10:33 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for the correction but it really doesn't matter. It's still an environment hostile to foreign business and I think it's retarded for Amazon to continue to do business there.


RE: f the effing French
By Spuke on 1/18/2008 2:48:38 PM , Rating: 2
Since I got a one does that mean that we SHOULD continue to do business in hostile environments?


RE: f the effing French
By saiga6360 on 1/18/2008 3:39:59 PM , Rating: 2
If it is profitable? Sure.


RE: f the effing French
By pomaikai on 1/18/2008 5:14:40 PM , Rating: 2
Hostile would mean that everyone but amazon can sell books under 5% MSRP, but this law applies to all books being sold in France. Nothing is hostile, it just keeps amazon from offering cheaper books than anyone else. All there doing is benefiting the company and screwing the consumer. Sounds like it could actually pass as a US law. Hopefully MPAA and RIAA dont hear about this.

The dumb part is that shipping has nothing to do with the price of a book. MSRP is MSRP, Shipping is an added charge at checkout. Shipping should not be in the equation for 95% of MSRP.


RE: f the effing French
By masher2 (blog) on 1/18/2008 5:38:40 PM , Rating: 4
> "Nothing is hostile, it just keeps amazon from offering cheaper books than anyone else."

You're missing part of the picture. At equal price points, Amazon operates at a competitive disadvantage to brick-and-mortar stores. After all, getting the book instantly, without shipping charges, and no wait is better than drumming your fingers for three days waiting on the postman.

Amazon can only counter that convenience with a lower price. When lower prices are illegalized, it certainly is hostile to Amazon.


RE: f the effing French
By masher2 (blog) on 1/18/2008 2:13:49 PM , Rating: 2
FNAC sells the majority of its product in brick and mortar stores.

Alapage was, until a couple of years ago, majority owned by the French government, which makes it a rather special case.


RE: f the effing French
By BMFPitt on 1/18/2008 2:14:55 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If the French people prefer smaller bookstores, let them have the smaller bookstores.
I suspect that your average Frenchman supports this as much as your average American supports farm subsidies.

It's just that over there a larger percentage of the population gets a kickback for their particular industry, so they won't throw the bums out for doing things like this. Here in America, we don't throw the bums out who give out corporate welfare because we're just plain apathetic.


RE: f the effing French
By drank12quartsstrohsbeer on 1/18/2008 1:11:06 PM , Rating: 1
If thats the way they want to run their country, so be it.

But I am sick and tired hearing people from Europe cry about having to pay higher prices than other parts of the world.


RE: f the effing French
By jajig on 1/18/2008 1:35:33 PM , Rating: 2
Everyone complains about having to pay high prices. If my retail experience is anything to go by those that pay the lowest prices complain the most.

I'm sure Amazons French customers aren't the ones complaining about free shipping too.


RE: f the effing French
By jtesoro on 1/18/2008 11:27:07 PM , Rating: 2
I think I'm taking the same stance as you on this one.

If the French government/people want to remake France into a backward nation, let them. "Survival of the fittest" applies to countries as well. If they become irrelevant and drop off the map with their policies, it's their problem.


Not worried
By Sylar on 1/18/2008 12:46:14 PM , Rating: 2
Won't be long until the French surrender yet again. viva le free shipping.




RE: Not worried
By mal1 on 1/18/2008 1:24:43 PM , Rating: 2
Lol...Google "french military victories" and hit I'm Feeling Lucky. Or if that's too much work:

http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/text/france.html


RE: Not worried
By ZoZo on 1/18/2008 1:26:01 PM , Rating: 6
"viva" is Italian. It's "vive" in French.


RE: Not worried
By thornburg on 1/18/2008 3:03:12 PM , Rating: 3
Um, nice comment... but how exactly is it a six?


RE: Not worried
By cochy on 1/18/2008 4:27:25 PM , Rating: 2
I might be completely crazy, but for some reason I remember the exact same post a few months ago that also got a 6. Maybe I'm nuts, it is Friday afternoon.


RE: Not worried
By mikefarinha on 1/18/2008 4:56:13 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Um, nice comment... but how exactly is it a six?


Because the French government mandated that French language which is misrepresented must be corrected and highlighted or face a fine.


RE: Not worried
By Qi on 1/18/2008 2:10:04 PM , Rating: 2
If it wasn't for the French, possibly the United States would not even exist. Ever heard of the Battle of the Chesapeake Bay? A decisive and very important French victory in the American Revolutionary War. And the total surrender of France in World War II was on paper only, in practice the Free French Forces continued to fight Nazi Germany until the end of the war.


RE: Not worried
By masher2 (blog) on 1/18/2008 2:16:13 PM , Rating: 3
> "Ever heard of the Battle of the Chesapeake Bay? A decisive and very important French victory in the American Revolutionary War."

We returned that favor, with interest, in 1944:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberation_of_Paris


RE: Not worried
By Qi on 1/18/2008 2:56:56 PM , Rating: 2
With 'we' I assume you mean the allies as a whole, not just the American troops? Implying that "America saved Europe" is not being entirely truthful. Americans take far too often all the credit for the liberation of Europe, and forget, or ignore, the fact that many other countries fought the Nazis. Understand me well, American involvement was incredibly important, but American involvement alone did not result in the fall of Nazi Germany. The failure of Operation Barbarossa was even more important, and ultimately ended the war a couple years later.


RE: Not worried
By masher2 (blog) on 1/18/2008 3:11:46 PM , Rating: 2
Don't attempt to change the subject. Certainly the US involvement in the liberation of France was more significant-- and more current-- than the French involvement in the Revolutionary War.

In any case, your implication that criticism of contemporary French policies are out of line because of actions taken three centuries earlier is fatuous, to say the least.


RE: Not worried
By Qi on 1/18/2008 4:03:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Don't attempt to change the subject. Certainly the US involvement in the liberation of France was more significant-- and more current-- than the French involvement in the Revolutionary War.
More current, yes. More significant? That's debatable. Without French involvement in the American Revolutionary War, and by altering history that much, who knows what would have happened. Perhaps we would never have seen the rise of Nazi Germany.

quote:
In any case, your implication that criticism of contemporary French policies are out of line because of actions taken three centuries earlier is fatuous, to say the least.
I'm not saying that criticism of current French policies is out of line, on the contrary, I disagree with the prohibiting of free shipping myself. My response was aimed at the previous poster saying "Won't be long until the French surrender yet again".


RE: Not worried
By masher2 (blog) on 1/18/2008 5:17:51 PM , Rating: 2
> "and by altering history that much, who knows what would have happened. Perhaps we would never have seen the rise of Nazi Germany."

So now comes a veiled insinuation that colonial America may have been responsible for the rise of the Nazi Party?

Sorry, but you just slipped off the deep into into puerile hyperbole.


RE: Not worried
By osalcido on 1/18/2008 5:39:04 PM , Rating: 2
That's not what he said at all


RE: Not worried
By Qi on 1/18/2008 5:40:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So now comes a veiled insinuation that colonial America may have been responsible for the rise of the Nazi Party?
You're taking this hypothetical discussion waaaay too seriously. But to answer your hypothetical question, no, not responsible, because a country is not responsible for anything by merely existing, a country is only responsible for its (intentional) actions.


RE: Not worried
By mal1 on 1/18/2008 3:02:31 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Ever heard of the Battle of the Chesapeake Bay? A decisive and very important French victory in the American Revolutionary War.


That would be the second rule of French warfare:

"France only wins when America does most of the fighting."


RE: Not worried
By Qi on 1/18/2008 4:05:10 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
"France only wins when America does most of the fighting."
Paradox. How can America fight, if it doesn't exist? =)


RE: Not worried
By JustTom on 1/18/2008 4:19:57 PM , Rating: 1
That assumes there would be no United States if France had not intervened, something impossible to prove one way or the other.


RE: Not worried
By Qi on 1/18/2008 4:43:01 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
That assumes there would be no United States if France had not intervened, something impossible to prove one way or the other.
Nope, I'm saying that the United Stated did not exist when the French were fighting in the American Revolutionary War. The Battle of the Chesapeake Bay took place in 1781, before the formal recognition of the United States in 1783.


RE: Not worried
By pomaikai on 1/18/2008 5:19:09 PM , Rating: 2
blah blah blah blah. If it was not for the first man and woman none of us would be here.

Get over it. You sound like children.


RE: Not worried
By rcc on 1/21/2008 2:02:52 PM , Rating: 2
As with most countries, we don't really care when someone else recognized us, it was a country formally in 1776, informally for longer.

And we honor the French for their assistance, but never doubt that the country would have formed and survived anyway. It would, however, certainly have taken longer.

No doubt the French Royalists of the time would have stayed well away from the Americas if they knew what the result of the US's example would have been for them in the next century.


No one says how "free" is to free.
By Mr Perfect on 1/18/2008 12:48:59 PM , Rating: 3
If the law simply says shipping can't be free, then couldn't they satisfy the law by charging a ridiculously low shipping rate? Instead of free shipping, offer one cent shipping(or whatever the French equivalent is).




RE: No one says how "free" is to free.
By jbzx86 on 1/18/2008 12:52:40 PM , Rating: 1
Hah, why is France always trying to be the first to do the dumbest crap?


RE: No one says how "free" is to free.
By amanojaku on 1/18/2008 1:25:17 PM , Rating: 2
Not true. France isn't the only country with this type of law. In theory it's a nice idea because it would protect small businesses, but the reality is quite different.

Let's say a book is sold by both Amazon and a small bookstore. Amazon, being a large global entity, can order a million books at a rate of 70% of the book's cover value (I'm making up numbers here.) The small bookstore, with only one location, gets 100 books at a rate of 90%. Amazon pays less per book, but the aggregate deal yields more profit. As a result of the reduced rate Amazon can sell that same book at 90% of the cover price while the small bookstore can at best get away with 95%. Which one are you going to buy? Obviously, Amazon's if shipping is free. Amazon makes a 20% profit and has more books to sell, while the bookstore gets 5% and runs out quickly.

By setting a flat price sellers cannot compete on price and are forced to compete in areas like customer service, availability, etc... The problem is that Amazon will still win considering their quantity discount. I see no reason why this law protects the little guy. France, wake up and smell the café (Français for coffee.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lang_Law


RE: No one says how "free" is to free.
By mcnabney on 1/18/2008 2:01:58 PM , Rating: 2
You need to re-read your economics book.

There are three aspects to a product:

Quality
Price
Service

Pick two.

A small bookseller does well with quality and service, but suffers on price. Amazon can deliver the price, but since there is no person to interact with they have trouble with providing personal customer service.


By cochy on 1/18/2008 4:31:11 PM , Rating: 2
He doesn't need to re-read anything. He's talking about price. Quality and Service are completely separate issues.

Maybe one day they will be a "Service-Ceiling or Floor" some where. This issue at hand is a "Price-Floor" which is practiced in many industries all over the world.


By pomaikai on 1/18/2008 5:22:02 PM , Rating: 3
You have never shopped newegg.com

Quality, price, and excelent service.


RE: No one says how "free" is to free.
By Christopher1 on 1/18/08, Rating: 0
By straycat74 on 1/19/2008 1:14:15 PM , Rating: 2
Generalizing may not be "true", but it gives you a general idea, meaning not all but most, or most likely.


By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 1/18/2008 12:54:18 PM , Rating: 2
The law mentions that books cannot be marked as loss leaders. So free or 1 cent or whatever, Amazon can't sell it for less than MSRP in France.

Or at least, not below French competitors. It really does read asinine to me.


By jtemplin on 1/18/2008 1:30:46 PM , Rating: 2
Laws should enable people to get their hands on books, not the other way around. Whether another country has a law like this or not, from what I have read it seems pretty backwards. Maybe in 1981 it made sense...


By Vinnybcfc on 1/18/2008 12:54:38 PM , Rating: 2
It is more to do with breaking the 5% rule that the article mentions even with a 1 pence or 1 cent rise the book will still be breaking the law.

This law is highly beneficial to offline retailers and basically allows them to not face any proper competition.


RE: No one says how "free" is to free.
By ninjit on 1/18/2008 12:57:37 PM , Rating: 2
Did you even read the article above before commenting??

The law is that books can't be discounted more than a certain amount below list price.

When the court factored in Amazon's free shipping (i.e. they took the expected cost of shipping and deducted it from the book price), they found that Amazon was violating that law.

It's pretty dumb: that law basically sounds like price-fixing in at a national and legislated level.


By Oregonian2 on 1/18/2008 1:51:29 PM , Rating: 2
Unions and the like are very powerful there, I understand. They'll also start fires and protest in the streets at the drop of a hat. Almost for the fun of it.


If I were Amazon...
By BMFPitt on 1/18/2008 12:35:38 PM , Rating: 5
I would remove the free shipping, and put a nice big graphic next to the drop down list stating that it would have been free, but...

Clicking it would bring up the names and contact info for the relevant French politicians to go about voicing your opinion to.




RE: If I were Amazon...
By FITCamaro on 1/18/2008 12:52:37 PM , Rating: 3
Make the label:

"This item qualifies for free shipping. But your country's socialist government, which fines any foreign competition, has chosen to deny you this discount saying it is illegal. So you have to pay for it. We apologize for this inconvenience. Please encourage your leaders to let us give you this benefit."


RE: If I were Amazon...
By Spuke on 1/18/2008 2:08:09 PM , Rating: 1
Or better yet, shutdown Amazon.fr and no longer do any business in France. Why would any corporation want to do business in a hostile environment?

I wouldn't pay the fines, I'd shutdown the site.


RE: If I were Amazon...
By BMFPitt on 1/18/2008 2:22:39 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Or better yet, shutdown Amazon.fr and no longer do any business in France. Why would any corporation want to do business in a hostile environment?

I wouldn't pay the fines, I'd shutdown the site.
I'm sure they make more than €1,000 per day in profit. And if they are otherwise sticking to the law and only discounting 5% rather than their normal 30% or so, France is probably one of their more profitable markets on a per-book basis.

Besides, wouldn't you rather stay open just to spite them?


RE: If I were Amazon...
By Spuke on 1/18/2008 2:55:24 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Besides, wouldn't you rather stay open just to spite them?
No. Which is probably why I'm not a business owner.


RE: If I were Amazon...
By pomaikai on 1/18/2008 5:30:07 PM , Rating: 2
Hostile would mean that everyone but amazon can sell books under 5% MSRP, but this law applies to all books being sold in France. Nothing is hostile, it just keeps amazon from offering cheaper books than anyone else. All there doing is benefiting the company and screwing the consumer. Sounds like it could actually pass as a US law. Hopefully MPAA and RIAA dont hear about this.


RE: If I were Amazon...
By Nanobaud on 1/18/2008 1:07:00 PM , Rating: 3
Or keep the free shipping, but add a prominent "mandatory contribution to French Booksellers Union".

Sort of like presumed-copyright-violation tax on blank CDs in Germany.


RE: If I were Amazon...
By HaZaRd2K6 on 1/18/2008 9:47:47 PM , Rating: 2
Canada, too. The minimum price of a single blank CD is now $0.21 even though they can be manufactured for a fifth of that.


RE: If I were Amazon...
By amanojaku on 1/18/2008 1:32:23 PM , Rating: 2
Too bad Amazon would get sued for the following:

"Shipping would have been free if not for the douches who enacted and upheld the Lang Law. Why not flush them out of office?"

Oh, I'm gonna get down rated for this one...


hypocrisy
By Zelvek on 1/18/2008 3:16:03 PM , Rating: 1
I find it quite humorous that many Americans are complaining about laws in another country that are repressive to foreign competition. Yet your own country broke its own laws (NAFTA) to do the same to Canadian softwood lumber.




RE: hypocrisy
By straycat74 on 1/18/2008 3:45:04 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. I haven't been able to sleep for the last few nights because of the Canadien softwood lumber debacle.


RE: hypocrisy
By masher2 (blog) on 1/18/2008 5:30:06 PM , Rating: 1
> "Yet your own country broke its own laws (NAFTA) to do the same to Canadian softwood lumber."

Wrong on a few counts. First of all, NAFTA isn't "a law", it's a treaty. No law was broken. Secondly, the US action was motivated due to Canadian subsidies on softwood. A NAFTA panel agreed on that principle, though it did find the US response was too harsh. Thirdly, the US paid a $4B penalty as a result of the panel decision, an agreement Canada accepted...which effectly ended the case.

Fourthly, your entire premise is faulty. The fact that other nations have before engaged in protectionism has no bearing whatsoever on this case. Quite a few people-- including many Americans-- spoke out against the US softwood tariffs....and I don't see anyone in this thread supporting them.

Your entire post, in fact, is just a variant of a circumstantial ad hominem attack. Why not debate the real issue here?


RE: hypocrisy
By Strunf on 1/18/2008 7:43:42 PM , Rating: 1
"The fact that other nations have before engaged in protectionism has no bearing whatsoever on this case."
It's only your credibility that takes a hit... it's like the Chinese speaking of human rights, or Americans for that matter... or when the US want's to stop the proliferation of WMD... etc etc etc it's easy to point someone else fault but when you parent any better maybe you should just shut the hell up, but of course this is a mainly American site so it's like a fart under water it make some bubbles and that's it.


RE: hypocrisy
By Darkskypoet on 1/18/2008 10:59:52 PM , Rating: 1
Actually Masher... No.

NAFTA panel, after NAFTA panel, after NAFTA panel sided with the Canadian Argument that there was no such dumping taking place. (period) In fact, what was happening was a battle between American lobby Groups, as is almost always the case. The Building industry ( and representative lobby groups) was all for the lower priced Canadian Lumber, other Lobbies were against.

Regardless, each time it went to a NAFTA panel, Canada won, it was a single WTO panel I believe that actually returned something other then a Pro-Canadian decision. true to form, the US decided not to heed any decision that did not follow their own point of view. (there are many many instances of this as the US is all for their own sovereignty, however against most other states attempts to exercise their own).

In fact, the initial duties levied may not have been that bad, and if the American Arguments about stumpage fees being too low had some merit, the anti-dumping tariffs were ridiculous garbage. But, and this is somewhat linked to the case, dumping is selling a product into a market below the cost of production, which if we are speaking of a State (US) respecting freedom would be perfectly fine.

However 2 points here:

1) the lumber was NOT being sold at prices below cost, and

2) even if it was say at cost, by your argument and other posters; freedom or competitive advantage should have either allowed the practice without penalty (smells of the French Book Sellers Union to impose tariffs collected by the government), or the US should get out of the lumber industry and those poor southern lumberjacks should go do something more productive.

The developed nations of the world, ALL of THEM, often decide to curtail free markets, free trade, and liberty in the name of national goals and aspirations. US, Canadian, Japanese, French, etc's policies can all be seen from another point of view as completely unfair or stupidly ludicrous.

Europe tends to defend a cultural way of life via protectionist tendencies, the US defends its right to overpay domestic labor by erecting barriers both tariff and non-tariff based on goods that it can't possibly compete in. In both cases, they can be deemed valid, or stupid depending on the point of view.

The NAFTA panel was supposed to represent a way to mediate disputes between the parties to the treaty. However, when the US decides not to live by the arbitrators ruling, what can Canada or Mexico do? Start a trade war over it? Does Canada cease exporting the oil that makes up 20% plus of the Daily US usage? Don't be silly. Unfortunately, what you neglected to mention was that Canada only agreed to the compromise, after a rather US friendly leader was elected. This agreement was also seen as basic acceptance of the fact that the US got to do what it wanted in regards to deciding what goods are privy to "Free Trade" and what goods are not.

Canada's stumpage fees make sense in our state, as we have far more crown land that is used for logging then the US, we also have far more trees to cut down. Considering even a supply and demand equation for setting a 'Market Price' as was the US demand, our 'Market Price' for logging rights, still would have been far below that of any US 'Market Price' as there are so many good site to deforest.

We, as a producer and seller were being forced to sell at or above a price floor, as US lumber producers / sellers could not compete. This is identical to the case with the French Book Sellers Union, as in both cases, Government was fining the offending seller for doing what they should have been able to do considering all the discussion of 'freedom'.

The Decision you are deriding is a rather simplistic anti-dumping law as defined by the US government, as they apply the SAME standards to Lumber, and many other 'protected' markets in the United States, as France seems to be applying to books.

"Play nice with our domestic industry, or we will fine you." Works in the US as well as France it seems.


RE: hypocrisy
By masher2 (blog) on 1/18/2008 11:28:56 PM , Rating: 2
> "NAFTA panel, after NAFTA panel, after NAFTA panel sided with the Canadian Argument..."

The very first such panel convened in 2003 agreed with the US that the Canadian softwood industry was subsidized, though they did (as I pointed out in my first post) say the US response was overcompensating.

Within a few months of the 2006 NAFTA ruling that the Canadian subsidy was in fact trivial, the US government agreed to return the sequestered tariffs on softwood. Trying to cast this as the US acting as some sort of rogue agent, irresponsive to treaty obligations and international law is just plain incorrect. It's a simple case of due process taking its own sweet time.

> "But...if we are speaking of a State (US) respecting freedom, [dumping] would be perfectly fine."

It most certainly would, and I'd be all for its legalization personally.

However, no state is perfect. The argument that, since the US isn't a perfect haven of laissez-faire capitalism, no one is allowed to criticize any action of another nation, no matter how heinous, falls flat on its face. A certain degree of protectionism exists everywhere. This French action is simply a particularly egregious example.

> "Canada's stumpage fees make sense in our state, as we have far more crown land that is used for logging then the US, we also have far more trees to cut down"

Which has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that Canada doesn't set those stumpage fees at fair market value. They're set administratively, at a value substantially below what they'd otherwise bring. That allows Canadian loggers to operate cheaper. Ergo...a government subsidy.

So you have more trees? Why in the world would that prevent an open auction for the right to log those trees? The fact is, the more you have, the more reason you should auction stumpage, to maximize revenue from state-owned lands.

NAFTA (eventually) ruled that the effect of that subsidy was minor. And so the US (eventually) complied. Yes, the original claim was made by US loggers, hoping for a protectionist bonanza. But the important point here is that the protectionists lost.


RE: hypocrisy
By Darkskypoet on 1/19/2008 1:16:25 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Within a few months of the 2006 NAFTA ruling that the Canadian subsidy was in fact trivial, the US government agreed to return the sequestered tariffs on softwood. Trying to cast this as the US acting as some sort of rogue agent, irresponsive to treaty obligations and international law is just plain incorrect. It's a simple case of due process taking its own sweet time.


Actually no. Yet again... In the end they returned only a portion of such.

Also...

"A NAFTA decision on Aug. 13, 2003 was considered a partial victory for the Canadian side. A panel ruled that, while the Canadian lumber industry is subsidized, the 18 per cent tariff imposed on softwood lumber by the United States is too high. While the ruling didn’t throw out the duty imposed more than a year earlier, it ordered the U.S. Commerce Department to review its position."

(As you said, but)

"The NAFTA report said the U.S. made a mistake in calculating its duties based on U.S. prices , and by not taking Canadian market conditions into consideration . It ordered Washington to recalculate them. NAFTA decisions are legally binding and must be put into effect within 60 days."

Also:

"Two weeks later, a WTO panel concluded that the U.S. wrongly applied harsh duties on Canadian softwood exports. The panel also found that provincial stumpage programs provide a "financial benefit" to Canadian producers. But, the panel made it clear that the benefit is not enough to be a subsidy, and does not justify current U.S. duties. "

And yet another decision in Canada's favour:

"On Aug. 10, 2005, an "extraordinary challenge panel" under NAFTA dismissed American claims that the earlier NAFTA decision in favour of Canada violated trade rules."

And further still:

"In March 2006, a NAFTA panel again ruled in Canada's favour , finding that Canadian softwood lumber exports are not subsidized. At this point, the total duties collected by the U.S. had reached $5.2 billion ."

Specifically the US Government did NOT agree to return the duties sir, in fact:

"The framework agreement called for the U.S. to return about 80 per cent of the $5 billion in duties that U.S. Customs has collected in the previous four years. Canadian-sourced lumber would also be kept to no more than its current 34 per cent share of the U.S. softwood market."

This is not due process, this is quite clearly a game of "Trade Chicken" After unreasonably damaging the Canadian Lumber Industry, the US government kept well over $500 million dollars of the collected (illegal) duties, and proceeded to give them to the US lumber interests. Further, as you can see it established a supply ceiling completely counter to the spirit of 'Free Trade', and the US' obligations under the trade treaty they signed willingly.

quote:
However, no state is perfect. The argument that, since the US isn't a perfect haven of laissez-faire capitalism, no one is allowed to criticize any action of another nation, no matter how heinous, falls flat on its face. A certain degree of protectionism exists everywhere. This French action is simply a particularly egregious example.


As clearly "egregious" as this US example. Except, how many days, at one thousand euros per day does it take to make five hundred million dollars? And where is the supply ceiling being imposed in the French governments decision?

341,927.5 days to meet the same burden of damage, and there is no supply ceiling being imposed upon Amazon. None.

quote:
Which has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that Canada doesn't set those stumpage fees at fair market value. They're set administratively, at a value substantially below what they'd otherwise bring. That allows Canadian loggers to operate cheaper. Ergo...a government subsidy.


Do you have proof that Canadian Lumber companies would be stupid enough to bid the price up on individual plots of logging land to their own detriment? You are saying that instead of setting a fee that guarantees a province's royalties from a given area at a certain level, the various provincial governments should instead start an auction for lands at some artificially controlled rate to artificially increase the price of said logging rights?

And don't think for a second that it would not be artificial, thus government controlled. It would have to be, or the price would more then likely fall. The abundance of land available to be logged is immense. So the list of sites available would have to be pruned down to something resembling scarcity. If there is virtually no scarcity, demand, unless near as virtually infinite, will not bid a price higher. Thus artificial scarcity must be imposed, as this scarcity can be controlled to the point of controlling prices, it is the exact same as attempting to force Canada to increase stumpage fees artificially.

quote:
NAFTA (eventually) ruled that the effect of that subsidy was minor. And so the US (eventually) complied. Yes, the original claim was made by US loggers, hoping for a protectionist bonanza. But the important point here is that the protectionists lost.


NO!!! Again, the protectionists DID NOT LOSE they succeeded in hijacking their competition by getting their government to hold over 5 Billion dollars of their competitors money, forcing the closure of their competitions logging sites and mills, devastating unequally the more profitable sectors of the Canadian Lumber industry that log on Crown land, netting over $500 million dollars in unreturned funds, and forcing a completely unfair 'deal' to create an artificial ceiling on lumber imports.

Sir, I humbly submit that I wish I could lose like that every day of the week, and twice on Sundays. This is both a textbook case of tariff, and non-tariff barriers; which run completely counter to the spirit of Free Trade and creating open liberalized markets. (classical liberal, I hate when people misuse the word liberal)


RE: hypocrisy
By masher2 (blog) on 1/19/2008 2:02:02 PM , Rating: 2
> "And don't think for a second that it would not be artificial, thus government controlled. It would have to be, or the price would more then likely fall. "

Sorry, but this displays a deep misunderstanding of basic market forces. The price set by open auction will always be higher than the amount now being generated by fiat pricing.

The proof of this is simple. Let's assume a price of $X for Y acres. Now we have three possibilities: NO private company is willing to pay that price, ONE company is willing to, or MORE THAN ONE company will pay that price.

Now lets assume the first is true-- no one is willing to pay. Thus if we had an auction, the price would fall. But, under a fiat system (government-set) no one would buy either, meaning no sales would be generated. If the government is selling all its stumpage (which it is) at the fiat price, then an open auction couldn't possibly bring less money.

What if only one company was willing to pay the fiat price?
Under an auction system, only one person would bid, and the price would drop. But in Canada, we don't see just one company buying at fiat prices, we see hundreds. Thus the "more than one" is the true situation. And each of those people are willing to pay at least the fiat price. So if an open auction was held, the price would rise-- some are obviously willing to pay more.

This admittedly oversimplified proof really isn't necessary in any case. Canadian stumpage fees are below market rate. No one, not even NAFTA, the WTO, or even Canada itself denies it. This explains why a tree can be cut down in Canada and shipped hundreds of miles to the US, right next to a US tree, far cheaper than a US company can simply cut down that tree itself.

Is that a good thing for the US and Canada both? Personally I believe it is, though obviously the US lumber industry disagrees. So, they followed their rights under US law and NAFTA procedure, and filed a dispute. The resolution of that dispute took years...but its resolved now.

> "how many days, at one thousand euros per day does it take to make five hundred million dollars?"

Two problems with this. First of all, the French fine will most assuredly be reviewed in a month and increased dramatically...and increased again, if Google fails to comply. Courts do not like being defied.

Second of all, Google sells a few million a year of books in France. The $500M figure you mention is taken against some $25 billion in softwood lumber sales over the period in question.

> "NAFTA decisions are legally binding and must be put into effect within 60 days.""

NAFTA specifically allows appeals to the process under Chapter 19 and the convocation of an ECC panel (you in fact reference the "extraordinary challenge committee" verbiage in your post). It's all part of the due process of NAFTA

http://www.nafta-sec-alena.org/DefaultSite/index_e...

The "ideal timeline" established by Chap 19 & 20 is well over a year (315 days + 5 months). So it's not surprising to see actions taking 3+ years.

But please don't put me in the position of defending this action. Did the US drag their feet? Most assuredly. But there has yet to be an international trade dispute in which one of the parties has failed to do that.


RE: hypocrisy
By Darkskypoet on 1/19/2008 5:02:06 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
What if only one company was willing to pay the fiat price? Under an auction system, only one person would bid, and the price would drop. But in Canada, we don't see just one company buying at fiat prices, we see hundreds. Thus the "more than one" is the true situation. And each of those people are willing to pay at least the fiat price. So if an open auction was held, the price would rise-- some are obviously willing to pay more.


You are missing the point that no two companies ever pay the fiat price for the same piece of land. You also miss the point that there are far more pieces of land (of exceptionally good quality in which to log)then firms to take advantage of such, enough so that rarely would two companies ever have to bid on the same piece of land. The same currently occurs in a reverse scenario with many infrastructure contracts (here in my province) only receiving one bid; as the sheer supply of building contracts simply outstrips the ability of our construction industry to handle them. The contracts, much as the majority of the logging lands, only receive one bid.

Especially as it is in the best interest of the Lumber industry (if possible, and it assuredly is) not to bid against each other, as there is no need to. (read not nearly enough scarcity to impose the need to compete for such lands, at the cost of higher prices)

quote:
Two problems with this. First of all, the French fine will most assuredly be reviewed in a month and increased dramatically...and increased again, if Google fails to comply. Courts do not like being defied.


It's Amazon, not Google... Also, at present it has not been increased, and this numerical exercise was used to address the disparity in the two decisions, and to put the severity of the decisions in perspective... As well as the LACK OF A SUPPLY CEILING . As you are right the scale of the two examples is different, however, the scale is not near as important as the idea that France should be bashed to the extent that it is for simply doing the same thing as the United States does. Both do it on a regular basis. Both are anti-competitive advantage, anti-capitalist, and anti-free trade.

quote:
But please don't put me in the position of defending this action. Did the US drag their feet? Most assuredly. But there has yet to be an international trade dispute in which one of the parties has failed to do that.


I understand the position of being caught out of place and having to engage a defense of something that is indefensible, however, you started to... and you have some notion the protectionists lost. A notion I severely must correct as it pertains to the misconception evident here, that he US doesn't commit such atrocious acts of protection.

Dragging ones feet, as it were, is one thing, However exerting that level of power abuse over a long time ally is more then dragging ones feet. Forcing an agreement upon an ally that completely breaks the spirit of treaties in force to ensure a protectionist trade environment on such an important Canadian industry. An industry which has traditionally supported lower priced housing for both countries via the provision of lower priced lumber, and other associated building products.

Consider the housing boom and bust that has recently gripped the US economy. AS we are so fond of attempting to apply economic rules when we don't fully understand the situation; let me make outrageous basic economic claims without due diligence on the state of industry as you have.

At the same time as this protectionist trade attack was occurring, housing prices were on the rise in the United States, in fact housing prices were rising for a number of factors, including the rising cost of softwood lumber due in large part to the US government's actions towards the import of Canadian Softwood lumber. Increasing price pressure on the building of new homes, and renovation of old homes for sale / resale pushes the price up even higher. Because the price of softwood lumber had increased artificially , thus also the price of new build homes had also risen artificially, this trade action assisted the housing bubble which has since deflated causing some rather large carnage in the commercial credit markets.

Bad loans are bad loans, however this artificial increase in the price of a new home, fed the differential debt:value damage that is causing so much havok. While not even close to being solely responsible ( as I am sure you'll harp on as being the basis of this 2nd argument) it assuredly added to the increased amount lent to purchase (increased 'bubble' price of the house), and thus the amount irretrievable after a successful foreclosure.

From the hands of the banks (well taxpayers children probably), through the borrowers to the American Lumber interest.... Lovely how the economy works. (yes I understand the lawyers received their cut too :) )

One final point to reiterate, that you have neglected to take up: The protectionists won! Fair trade and competitive advantage were stomped upon, and there is now an import "Quota" in place that is both Predatory, and Hostile . This makes this US action far worse the the French imposing a uniform rule to be followed by both domestic and foreign producers.

Stomp on France, decry their lack of vigor for the freedom of fair competition and private industry. But, do not fail to look at the mud on your own fins, and imply that France is somehow worse then the self acclaimed free market champion, the United States Of America.


RE: hypocrisy
By masher2 (blog) on 1/19/2008 5:31:51 PM , Rating: 2
> "However exerting that level of power abuse over a long time ally is more then dragging ones feet"

You're descending into emotional hyperbole. First of all, this wasn't some "attack on an ally". This was an action brought by US lumber interests, against Canadian lumber interests.

Secondly, it's hardly the only NAFTA dispute. There have been hundreds, and Canada has been on the protectionist and/or simply the wrong side of the stick just as often as not. ExxonMobil, Trammel-Crow, UPS are a few companies who have brought suit against Canada. There was also a suit (which Canada lost) for it's MMT ban. Finally, there was the recent suit (still ongoing) over Canadian decision to target primarily-US owned energy trusts for higher taxation rates.

But you're still dodging the point. We're discussing France, not the US or Canada. No one who criticizes French protectionism is being hypocritical, unless they simultaneously support some other protectionist

Face facts. France is, by far, a worse offender than the US. In a recent survey of economic freedom, the US and Canada ranked 5th and 7th in the world, respectively. France ranked 48th...an extraordinarily low score for a First-world nation, and in fact behind places such as Oman, Uruguay, and even Botswana. It's a restrictive, protectionist economy, and certainly deserves criticism for such.


RE: hypocrisy
By Darkskypoet on 1/21/08, Rating: 0
RE: hypocrisy
By Darkskypoet on 1/21/2008 4:52:50 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Face facts. France is, by far, a worse offender than the US. In a recent survey of economic freedom, the US and Canada ranked 5th and 7th in the world, respectively. France ranked 48th...an extraordinarily low score for a First-world nation


Wow... really? Hmm... lets go and read the entry for France shall we?

"France scores above the world average in eight of 10 economic freedoms and especially strongly in business freedom, property rights, and freedom from corruption . As a member of the European Union, it has a standardized monetary policy that yields relatively low inflation, despite agricultural distortions. Property is protected by transparent rule of law."

Wait... But this index is biased against the welfare state apparatus, that is well supported by French citizens, thus:

"However, France's fiscal freedom and government size scores are extraordinarily weak. As in many other European social democracies, government spending and tax rates are exceptionally high to support an extensive welfare state. Government expenditures are more than half the size of the nation's GDP."

So ranked 48th because of government spending to GDP, not because of the relevant issue of trade practices... Masher, come on, I thought you were better then this. You might as well have quoted a stat saying that "France ranks 48th for cows per person, a very low ranking for a developed nation." This has no bearing at all... And actually, it shows that in 8 of 10 categories, it is above the regional and global average.

Especially in Business Freedom , now wasn't that the point of this entire thread? France's score is dropped so low based solely on the 13/100 that it gets for government size. remove that and it's score jumps 20 places. Remove the other 53.2 it receives for fiscal freedom (a side effect of large government providing a swath of Human development services) and it jumps up to roughly just below Japan. Around 18th spot on the list.

http://www.heritage.org/research/features/index/co...

http://www.heritage.org/research/features/index/co...

Further:

"America could do better in its scores for fiscal freedom and government size, which are 7 and 8 points below average, respectively. Total government spending equals more than a third of GDP."
http://www.heritage.org/research/features/index/co...

US government spending reaches such a high level, without providing even close to the same number of services for its citizens. Also, just so we are clear on the raw numbers the US scores a 59.8 on Government Size vs France's 13.8, and 68.3 on Fiscal freedom vs 53.2 for France.

Considering the different applications of expenditure, and the differences achieved on Quality of life between the two States: Namely, France ranks higher then the US in all non GDP/capita measures of Human Development with only 3/4 the GDP/capita to tax and spend with. France has clearly chosen her objectives differently then the U.S, while still maintaining high scores in 8 of 10 indications of economic freedom, and supporting a higher standard of living for the majority of her citizens, not simply those that can afford to do so as in the case of the United States. (Gini co-efficient France: 26.7 & (EU 31.3), United States 45)

http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/hdr_20072008_en_compl...
(pp229)

(for an explanation of Gini Coefficient a measure of relative inequality see:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gini_coefficient
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_...


RE: hypocrisy
By masher2 (blog) on 1/21/2008 2:39:32 PM , Rating: 2
> "And actually, it shows that in 8 of 10 categories, it is above the regional and global average."

Oops, France is below the regional average. Read the entry again. As for the "world average", that includes nations like Cuba, North Korea, Laos, the Congo, etc. Scoring above the global average isn't something for a First World nation to be proud of.

What I said was France ranks below the average for First World industrialized nations. And it does, most assuredly.

In fact, France's score would be considerably lower, were it not for its membership in the EU, with its standardized monetary and trade policies.

You also selectively quoted the entry. Shall we read a bit of what you left out?
quote:
Faced with chronic unemployment, lack of growth, and escalating social disorder.... Protectionist policies toward politically sensitive industries [are] likely to continue ...

Foreign companies complain of high payroll and income taxes, pervasive regulation of labor and products markets, and negative attitudes toward foreign investors . Prior approval is necessary for investment in strategic sectors like public health, defense, or casinos. In late 2006, the European Commission challenged the EU legality of France's investment regulation law. Foreign investment is restricted in sectors like agriculture, aircraft production, air transport, audiovisual, insurance, and maritime transport ...


RE: hypocrisy
By Fritzr on 1/19/2008 4:39:56 AM , Rating: 2
Without commenting on the accuracy of the claims, it is often stated that US Federal Lands timber sales are priced such that the US Government loses money on the sales. The timber harvesting companies of course are quick to disagree & the various people and groups attempting to outlaw or at least limit timber harvest on Federal and State land want all such sales to at least pay the costs these groups claim to exist.

If the "sell below cost" claim is true, then US Federal agencies authorizing these sales are dumping timber on the market. With many timber harvesting companies going bankrupt when denied access to these government timber sales there seems to be some reason to believe that the US Government is violating at least the spirit of the US laws forbidding predatory pricing. Although in their defense they usually don't restrict bidding to benefit a particular company...usually.

As for US policies regarding protection of small business, there are many state and local laws designed to prevent the Wal-Martization of small communities. Companies like Wal-Mart have teams of lawyers working on the task of analyzing these laws for each market they enter and the means necessary to bypass them. France has simply done this for booksellers at the national level. So a bookseller who wishes to violate the spirit of the Lang law need only to figure out how to do it once and apply the solution across the country. Much easier than the situation in US :)

Sure it is easy to say that the bookseller on the corner should be put out of business because he didn't convert to a square km superstore. But why not require Amazon to forgo their pricing advantage and simply advertise that "you can find the book the corner store doesn't sell at Amazon, so start your shopping with us and save the time and trouble."


RE: hypocrisy
By masher2 (blog) on 1/19/2008 2:07:25 PM , Rating: 2
> "there are many state and local laws designed to prevent the Wal-Martization of small communities"

Sure. And Wal-Mart wins nearly every challenge against such laws, which explains why there are some 3,000 Walmart stores around the country. In fact, the few places Wal-mart loses are typically in California, a state where the business climate usually more closely resembles France than the rest of the U.S.

In any case, you're still denying the basic point. There is no one in this thread supporting such laws, so calling our criticism of the French system "hypocrisy" is flatly incorrect.


Cultural Difference
By Qi on 1/18/2008 1:36:04 PM , Rating: 1
I'm European - not French by the way - and personally I think it's ridiculous to forbid free shipping. I do understand why it's forbidden though. It has everything to do with the protection of small businesses. In Europe, these tend to be protected more than in the United States. Not primarily for economic reasons, but for cultural reasons.

Also, lets stop being hypocritical and act as if there are no stupid laws in the United States.

http://www.dumblaws.com/




RE: Cultural Difference
By masher2 (blog) on 1/18/2008 2:08:26 PM , Rating: 2
So your position is, since every nation has "dumb laws", we can't discuss any of them?

In any case, most of the "dumb laws" on your linked site are ones which made sense when originally passed, 100 or even 150 years ago. Most aren't even prosecuted any more.

France's Lang Law was passed in 1981 and, as this article shows, is still being heavily prosecuted.


RE: Cultural Difference
By Qi on 1/18/2008 2:26:58 PM , Rating: 2
No, that's not my position. My position is since probably every country on earth has stupid laws, acting as if France is the only country that has stupid laws, is being hypocritical.

As said, I disagree personally with the prohibition since I prefer cheap prices above cultural diversity, but I can understand why other people may choose the other thing.


RE: Cultural Difference
By masher2 (blog) on 1/18/2008 2:33:23 PM , Rating: 1
> "...acting as if France is the only country that has stupid laws"

I don't recall anyone saying that. I do see people implying that France has more than its fair share of anti-business, anti-competitive legislation, however. A statement that is not only true, but goes a long way to explain the economic doldrums so prevalent in the country.


RE: Cultural Difference
By Qi on 1/18/2008 3:34:39 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I don't recall anyone saying that.
Well, with comments like these people certainly get that impression:

Hah, why is France always trying to be the first to do the dumbest crap?

quote:
I do see people implying that France has more than its fair share of anti-business, anti-competitive legislation, however. A statement that is not only true, but goes a long way to explain the economic doldrums so prevalent in the country.
You are absolutely right, it's not the best decision economically. Culturally though, I can understand why they do it. In Europe, most big cities have hundreds, if not thousands, small independent shops. People expect these shops to be there. Many specialized shops selling cheese, wine, bread, etc. I couldn't care less personally, I just buy my stuff at the local supermarket.


RE: Cultural Difference
By jajig on 1/18/2008 4:56:55 PM , Rating: 2
I wish there were cheese shops where I live, the 20 varieties of cheddar are no variety at all.


RE: Cultural Difference
By Qi on 1/18/2008 5:17:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I wish there were cheese shops where I live, the 20 varieties of cheddar are no variety at all.
I'm not saying that smaller specialized shops do not exist in the United States, but having visited the United States many times, and living in Europe myself, I think it is safe to say that here in Europe we have many more of these shops. With so many countries, and so many cultures, it's only logical. In the United States, you have Wal-Mart. In Europe, every country has its own Wal-Mart.


RE: Cultural Difference
By DKaneda on 1/18/2008 8:08:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I just buy my stuff at the local supermarket.


That's why this law exist..


RE: Cultural Difference
By MrWhereItsAt on 1/20/2008 6:10:59 AM , Rating: 2
What I take from this article is, firstly, that this is a judgment passed down by a court in France, which AFAIK has nothing to do with the government of the day (beyond possible appointments of chief justices, I'm not au fait with the French judicial system).

Second, this is enforcement of a law enacted in 1981, long before the Internet, Amazon, or the current French government. It is clearly out-of-date and needs to be updated. It's not up to courts to insist a law is stupid and needs to be revised, they just enforce the law as it is. You can't blame any of these groups for this situation, only the lack of foreknowledge of the 1981 lawmakers, and the inability of current government to see such a problem arising. Which is hardly very fair - it's hard to see this sort of problem emerging based on 26 year old laws until it all hits the fan.

I wonder how it is that a French court can impose a fine on Amazon? Is it because Amazon deliver to France, or because they have a France-based website or French branch? Does this mean that French courts can impose fines on ANY company that will send you something to France? The latter would startle me if it's true, and if it isn't, could Amazon not remove whatever measures allow the court's jurisdiction to apply and continue to operate as before? If nothing else, this would hopefully force a rethink and update of this law. I gather that's what they're expecting with their stated defiance anyway.


RE: Cultural Difference
By Darkskypoet on 1/21/2008 5:03:07 AM , Rating: 1
On the topic of extraterritorially imposing domestic law, there is some precedent for it being attempted: See EPA vs Tech Cominco Canada (and perhaps other such SuperFund court cases on foreign companies), however I am not so sure how conclusive the precedence is. The main difference between this and other cases of such is that Amazon does conduct business in France, whereas other cases have involved events occuring outside the legal jurisdiction, with effects being felt inside the legal jurisdiction.

In short, France probably does have the ability to levy such fines, as does the US have legal abilities to prosecute international gambling sites that conduct monetary transactions with US firms. (remember the US is all about protecting their domestic gambling racket, yet 'international' legality has not been fully established)

http://www.news.com/WTO-slams-U.S.-Net-gambling-ba...


RE: Cultural Difference
By Oregonian2 on 1/18/2008 2:15:46 PM , Rating: 2
U.S. has a lot of dumb laws on the books, but AFAIK few if any are actually enforced (or even known about by those who would enforce them).

In addition to that, at least some of that stuff on that site actually aren't dumb or they're made up.

Says that in my state eating ice cream on sunday is illegal. Silly, one can go to any of a zillion ice cream shops in down on sunday and pig out as much as you want. Just for instance.

Says that it's illegal for drivers to pump gas. True, but not having drivers fill their cars with gas is something I actually like. Doesn't really cost anything (pump jockies don't make a ton of money -- and insurance should be lower with only "trained employees" handling the pumps) and so mini-serve works very well. We have state ballots on this issue periodically and so far we've always voted to keep it this way, so I'm not the only one. Especially in wintertime when it's cold and wet (and now with $3 gas any possible penny difference is insignificant). Just sit in the warm car....but without costing anything extra for "full" serve.

Etc.


Unbelievable.
By Malhavoc on 1/18/2008 1:41:30 PM , Rating: 1
I swear some of the same people who are complaining about this are those people who I have seen complain about foreign companies offering cheap pricing well below our previous North American standards and force manufacturing jobs to be outsourced in countries where labour prices are lower.

You asinine Americans are going to blast the French for trying to protect their own economy because yours couldn't? I find that absolutely astounding. Pull the French hating pickle out of your asses.




RE: Unbelievable.
By michal1980 on 1/18/08, Rating: -1
RE: Unbelievable.
By Malhavoc on 1/18/2008 2:43:10 PM , Rating: 2
I have not one ounce of French in me. I'm North American and blasted Americans. I'll give you another guess ... want to play 20 questions for money?


RE: Unbelievable.
By enlil242 on 1/18/2008 3:19:19 PM , Rating: 2
So, by you grouping all Americans, qhote: "You asinie Americans," into one entity as you did in your comment, makes you no more noble, or holier than thou then the people you are criticizing...

Food for thought.


RE: Unbelievable.
By Spuke on 1/18/2008 4:47:22 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Food for thought.
It's just popular to bash Americans, that's all. I wouldn't be surprised that most people that bash Americans on this site were Americans pretending to be from other countries.


RE: Unbelievable.
By jeff834 on 1/18/2008 8:30:53 PM , Rating: 2
I'm an American and I used to bash Americans on a regular basis for their stupidity, laziness, rudeness, etc. I like my country, and despite it's downfalls and mistakes it's a great place to live. Anyway, a few years ago I realized it isn't Americans who need to be bashed, nor is it the French, nor the English, any other Europeans, Asians, Africans, South Americans, or Middle Eastern peoples. It's humans. We all suck. I consider every person to be a stupid, rude, lazy jerk until they prove otherwise. Some do, some don't, but to be honest stupid, rude, lazy, jerks are only dangerous in groups, so I don't worry too much about it.

Don't rate me down too far, I'm mostly kidding :).


RE: Unbelievable.
By Malhavoc on 1/18/2008 5:06:39 PM , Rating: 2
'You asinine Americans' does not mean 'all Americans are asinine'. My comment is directed specifically at the asinine Americans who complain about this and also the loss of manufacturing jobs to foreign nations. I did not name them specifically true, but if you feel like doing some digging, you can probably figure out who.


We should have laws like that
By 1samll on 1/18/2008 1:43:03 PM , Rating: 2
France is simply protecting small business owners and their own economy
at the same time.
Protectionism is good on a certain scale because if prevents migration of jobs outside of their country.
Perhaps this is what we need in the US to slow down imports from China, Vietnam and other 3rd world countries with whom our own local companies can not compete.




RE: We should have laws like that
By bfellow on 1/18/2008 1:56:09 PM , Rating: 2
Protecting who? All there doing is having Amazon's "fines" go into the government's own pockets. Small businesses are not affected by France receiving the fines.

France needs to make better laws in order to combat small businesses from failing otherwise its very useless.


RE: We should have laws like that
By mindless1 on 1/21/2008 10:36:40 PM , Rating: 2
Obviously the intent was protection, they apparently did not forsee a large company like Amazon coming along and not complying. However, we can't yet say all they're doing is putting money into the Government because these is still the (expected) option that the fine will be increased until it becomes prohibitive for Amazon to continue doing business the same way without compliance.

In other words, you're only seeing the beginning of the effect, not the end result.

What "better laws" do you propose to combat small business failure? This law does seem to meet that standard although those of us raised to believe a free market is best will naturally reject such controls. If you have some great ideas why not send them off to France and we'll see if you, better than they, know how to protect their interests.

I'm not necessarily defending their stance but I can see a positive aspect to it, that it can be good to keep money in a country and a certain degree of support for the national products. After all, one of the functions of government is to protect the citizen's interests. This brings up the issue of whether the citizens are better off with cheaper books, or by trying to keep their economy a bit more closed than some countries.

COnsider there are plenty of more closed nations than France. We're just not discussing any of them at the moment and we feel the restrictions are somewhat arbitrary when it comes to things like free shipping but it does fall in line with their intentions, right or wrong.


RE: We should have laws like that
By BMFPitt on 1/18/2008 2:43:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
France is simply protecting small business owners and their own economy
Great job they're doing with that... When I think of a strong, growing economy, I think France.


RE: We should have laws like that
By mindless1 on 1/21/2008 10:39:29 PM , Rating: 2
By suggesting their economy is't strong and growing, you are coming closer to justifying their actions (laws) than giving reason to abandon them.

What have you bought from France recently? Who do you consider as having a strong, growing economy?


competition is good?
By poohbear on 1/18/2008 12:28:55 PM , Rating: 2
i thought competition is good? this is really too much. those frenchies should welcome a lil flavour in the marketplace.




RE: competition is good?
By mindless1 on 1/21/2008 10:48:46 PM , Rating: 2
Generally, no. Competition in the long term tends to allow exploitation of the lowest wage earners and in a global economy, it happens in countries will more oppressed citizens.

There's a duality here, you want no oppression from the government but it only works if those OTHER countries do it so the cheap labor exists. Sometimes it's less direct, but ultimately we have to see it for what it is, that fewer people are making money so we are actively causing the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer.

There is a balance needed, free trade without restrictions favors those that do their dirty deeds in secret. It is a good goal but in a global economy everyone isn't playing by the same rules, so there can't very well be abandonment of laws meant to keep a balance if the other side of the scale is not equally changed.

What happens when one person amasses more than everyone else onto the point where they can do everything with robots and by eliminating most of their costs, amasses more and more? It's a bit like the game monopoly in that eventually there are fewer winning players and everyone else loses, then finally only one entity with everything if a true open global market were to exist until it reached it's natural end. Competition is only good up to a point, beyond which there is enough to go around for everyone if we just make sure nobody is left out.

You shouldn't have to go broke and lose everything for coming in second place against a competitor but that can happen and is a waste.


Europe
By pauldovi on 1/18/2008 7:32:04 PM , Rating: 2
"The New Europe, reminding you why your ancestors left the Old Europe."




RE: Europe
By DKaneda on 1/18/2008 8:16:06 PM , Rating: 2
My $.02 :
Because they were religious fanatics and/or prisonners ?

;D kidding..


Amazon and the French
By Vikendios on 1/20/2008 3:45:53 PM , Rating: 3
The Lang law has nothing to do with Amazon or America. It was voted twenty five years ago, rightly or wrongly, to protect small neighborhood bookstores from "large competitors", and in those days the latter were all french anyway and e-commerce had not been heard of.

The reasoning was that "large competitors" - ie the very large hypermarkets like Carrefour and large multistore chains specialised in cultural leisure goods (FNAC) - would cut rates on a limited list of blockbusters, depriving smaller bookshops of the profit source they needed to play the cultural community role expected from them : providing an extensive selection of reading on a wide range of subjects, even if of interest to only a few.

This noble intent was as usual used as an alibi by the business interests of the bookseller unions, but is not per se anti-Amazon, and certainly not anti-American. It resembles the current debate going on in the New York Times over free trade, see : http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/20/opinion/l20trade...

My view is that the law is obsolete for other reasons. Concentration in the bookselling trade does not of necessity atrophy the choice of readers in small provincial towns. The long shelves at the Waterstone stores all over the UK, and similar outlets in the US, prove that large discount book chains are probably better at bringing more choices and actively market diversified reading to the general public than Man and Pop stores, even if the owner is an active figure on the local cultural scene.

As for Amazon, it is absolutely priceless for the isolated provincial seeker of rare volumes.

The Lang law is contrary to EU rules and can only survive under "cultural protection" guidelines. In my view, it fails these guidelines.

Full disclosure : I am a French citizen living in another EU country. My loyalties are, in that order, to Mankind, Europe and France.




Euro-Socialism
By 1337n00blar on 1/18/2008 12:27:09 PM , Rating: 2
GG trying to control every aspect of the economy. Hopefully this will change under Sarkozy.




Unbelievable
By Slug on 1/18/2008 12:28:36 PM , Rating: 2
All I can say is "unbelievable."

I'm sure the French people love to pay shipping.

Kudos to Amazon.




Funny!
By rcc on 1/18/2008 12:28:58 PM , Rating: 2
And people will no doubt claim that this was to protect the consumer from an evil monopolisitic corporation.




haha frenchies
By Oroka on 1/18/2008 1:00:48 PM , Rating: 1
Nice to know that french people everywhere suck!

They should comply with the law, but every penney they get for shipping, they should donate to the opposing political party in France, as a 'donation from the people who think this sh!t sucks donkey balls' (that exact wording too). Make the french look stupider than they already are.




RE: haha frenchies
By Oregonian2 on 1/18/2008 1:57:20 PM , Rating: 1
Thanks a lot guy. I'm a quarter French (father's mother was French). I've got Amazon prime and love it (got a 61 pound TV mount shipped in two days for free, would have been only another $6 or so for overnight!).

Just for that I'll buy an Archos 605 instead of an iPod. Why not, have you noticed that Apple products are French-like in that prices even from the places that sell goods that "fell off a truck in Jersey" still are a hair's breathe from List price? Ditto for Bose.


By RobberBaron on 1/18/2008 1:18:12 PM , Rating: 2
Looks like the need to fix there law to allow B&M booksellers to compete with online retailers...not the other way around.




Only in France?
By saiga6360 on 1/18/2008 1:44:22 PM , Rating: 2
So this law only applies in France right? If the rest of us are not affecting by this then so be it, all residents of France do not qualify for free shipping. What is the big deal?




well
By meepstone on 1/18/2008 2:48:52 PM , Rating: 2
Seems like France is trying to eliminate incentives to buy from company's. If you do that then whats the point of a competitive market where the consumer benefits if you make these incentives to buy from certain retailers illegal.

I mean really, this is just rediculous. Glad i dont live there.




By P4blo on 1/21/2008 7:53:24 AM , Rating: 2
In a word, the French. They're a P.I.T.A. They're far too protectionist and the net effect is to hurt themselves, ultimately. What's one of the first things the French used Europe to leverage for themselves? Huge farming subsidies to prop up their uncompetetive industry. Great, we're really glad we pay your farmers billions each year so that they can churn out Foi Gras and whatever other foods they've patented and deemed worthy of protection like a rare endangered species.

They reek of an over inflated sense of cultural self worth.... Does that about cover it? They think they gave the world... pretty much everything.




"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997











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