Petit manuel irrévérencieux d’économie, Emmanuel COMBE

Emmanuel Combe

This section selects books on themes related to competition laws and economics. This compilation does not attempt to be exhaustive but rather a survey of themes important in the area. The survey usually covers publication over the last three months after publication of the latest issue of Concurrences. Publishers, authors and editors are welcome to send books to stephane.rodrigues-domingues@univ-paris1.fr for review in this section.

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Emmanuel Combe was born a few days before May 1968. It is probably because of this rendezvous with history that he became one of the economists who most consistently contributes to thinking about new economic models, disruption and reforms.

His ideas on the subject, condensed in the brief, hard-hitting chronicles collected in this book, follow a thread that can be simply summarized.

It is a question of talking about economics, but in a concrete way, illustrated by example, which gives credibility to the argument. The theory is applied to recent situations that speak for us, that speak to all of us. The low cost of air travel, the strike at the SNCF against opening up to competition, the theory of games on the oil market... And the point is always positive, quite the opposite of the decliners, who hide behind economic theory to anticipate the downgrading of our dear old country. This illustration by example does not prevent the author from playing with concepts: competition and monopoly of course, but also price formation, the place of the State in the modern world, democracy and economic growth, productivity...

This book brilliantly dismantles the simplistic ideas of the time, and there are many of them and their talented promoters. Emmanuel Combe thus explains to us in a few chiselled lines why protectionism turns against those who implement it, why the devaluation of the currency is a mirage, why competition is not, on the contrary, the enemy of public service.

It calls for a clear distinction to be made between public service, public monopoly and public capital. The vice-president of the Competition Authority explains how Brussels’ antitrust policy favours consumers and development, why it is possible to take a benevolent look at robotisation, how new entrants are pushing established players to reinvent themselves...

Above all, Emmanuel Combe offers suggestions and recipes for reforming the country, for changing the missions of the State and the modalities of public intervention, and for evaluating the "cost/benefit ratio" of the measures envisaged.

He is as much an advocate of low cost as he is of an increase in the quality of our production. The author is not an ultraliberal. He considers that the economy creates well-being, that authoritarian regulations have many perverse effects, he is reserved about Malthusianist policies, but he recommends a powerful state that is not omnipresent.

In this it meets the current reforming will that pushes structural reforms, does not hesitate to favour breakthrough innovations and "speaks for the outsiders" by questioning acquired situations. This is often the approach we have implemented with Free in our projects. in telecommunications, which demonstrates that competition, low prices and investment are not enemies, and in another genre with the 42 school, which thanks to a different, disruptive education, allows outsiders to become a new elite. Or again with the hundreds of start-ups that we support and that most often unknowingly draw their inspiration from Emmanuel Combe’s chronicles!

The Little (irreverent) textbook on economics is therefore aptly named. Its approach to economics is modest, refreshing but concrete and brilliant. A book for all audiences, which helps to understand the essential and does good.

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Xavier Niel, Petit manuel irrévérencieux d’économie, Emmanuel COMBE, February 2019, Concurrences N° 1-2019, Art. N° 89466, pp. 245

Publisher Concurrences

Date 1 October 2018

Number of pages 261

ISBN 979-10-94201-13-8

Visites 122

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