Balance between "digital freedom" and "state control" discussed at Eurasian Economic Forum

Balance between "digital freedom" and "state control" discussed at Eurasian Economic Forum
Фото: facebook.com/bakhyt.sultanov 25.05.2023 15:30 473

Bakhyt Sultanov, a member of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission, wrote about this on Facebook. He shared his observations from the II Eurasian Economic Forum,  El.kz reports.

- We talked a lot about international cooperation and technological sovereignty (this topic is one of the most acute in the expert community after the pandemic), a reasonable correlation of environmental issues with energy security and economic growth. Of course, the topic of digital transformation was not bypassed: about digital assets and opportunities and how to find a balance between "digital freedom" and "state control," he wrote.

He noted that the session was devoted to the last aspect: "Ex-ante vs ex-post regulation of competition, collusion in public procurement and digital transformation".

- The topic is provocative. In the era of the rapid growth of e-commerce and giant companies (among the largest in the EAEU are Ozon, Yandex, Wildberries, Kaspy), is it necessary to "include" ex-ante regulation of competition, that is, simply include some prohibitions in order to avoid violations in principle, or still solve the problem after its appearance - ex-post?

On the one hand, any prohibition of any actions leads to a distortion of competition, in principle. And excesses with ex-ante can be the surest way to trigger the degradation of this market. Because prohibiting certain actions in the markets will shift the attention of business to other markets. And the consequence of this will be that not the highest quality company will be able to make a profit in the "market with prohibitions", becoming a monopolist.

On the other hand, ex-post regulation, that is, prosecution for an already committed violation of competition rules, also entails the creation of monopolies, since a priori it gives business unlimited freedom, the opportunity to develop in any direction and volume. The state, represented by the antimonopoly authorities, can only regulate what it can classify (and this is key!) as a violation.

Yesterday, my colleagues, representatives of the antimonopoly authorities of different countries, used living examples from personal experience to prove the correctness or ineffectiveness of this or that approach. As a result, we came to the conclusion that the more tools are implemented or "tested", the more questions regulators have about the volume of the system of checks and balances in the digital sphere.

So, having exchanged views and experiences, we have only advanced one step in understanding the optimal balance between different forms of regulation," Bakhyt Sultanov wrote.

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