Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

December 14, 2007

Those Stupid Europeans

by Doug Mataconis

The next time you hear some politician telling you that America should be more like Europe, remember nonsense like this:

Amazon.com may not offer free delivery on books in France, the high court in Versailles has ruled.

The action, brought in January 2004 by the French Booksellers’ Union (Syndicat de la librairie française), accused Amazon of offering illegal discounts on books and even of selling some books below cost.

The court gave Amazon 10 days to start charging for the delivery of books, which should at least allow the company to maintain the offer through the end-of-year gift-giving season. After that, it must pay a fine of €1,000 (US$1,470) per day that it continues to offer free delivery. It must also pay €100,000 in compensation to the booksellers’ union.

Those familiar with the work of a Frenchman named Frederic Bastiat will recognize the similarity between this lawsuit and the candlemaker’s petition.

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