Some interesting information surfaced here in Holland about the state and privately held companies. The 'Gasunie', the state-owned corporation that has the monopoly on gas in Holland made a slight miscalculation with supplying its clients such as Nuon and Essent, two major privatized companies and players on the Dutch and international market. Since 2006 and up until now they made some miscalculations with the transport of gas to their clients, at least that's what the VEMW (organization of energy retailers) claims. It's estimated that the companies paid around 1 billion Euro too much.
Naturally, companies such as Nuon and Essent transfer their costs unto their clients, the normal citizen. As a note to the side, you wont believe the taxes people have to pay here in Holland with their energy bill. If my memory serves me right, at least 33% of the energy bill consists of state imposed taxes. 'Environment tax', CO2 emission tax, energy tax. Then the companies themselves charge you with transport costs (which is a derivative from the Gasunie process), administration costs. To top it off there's the VAT (value added tax). One giant cluster frak if you ask me.
Next to the 'gas-cost upheaval' article in the newspaper there was another article which is worth mentioning here. The Dutch I.R.S. (state tax revenue service) conducted multiple investigations in the construction and real estate sectors. 1300 investigated cases revealed that half of them weren't in order and that an amount of 1 billion Euro's was not listed as revenue. Fraud of course. Some 600+ companies are going to be taxed and fined, which will generate 330 million Euro's once more for that state.
These 2 articles show of course the manipulation of the 'market' by both state and companies. I've heard a number of people claim on the internet that 'state interference' should be less and 'small government' should be the norm - because this would 'purify' the system and result in fair prices. (Quite often these people come from the Austrian school of economics.) I couldn't disagree with that concept more. Regardless of the fact that these people are advocating a type of 'economic survival of the fittest' which produces its own cost (socially and environmentally), both the State and private enterprise are equally corrupt when it comes to economics. Both are oriented into maximizing their income whenever and wherever possible. In a system based on competition and profit, everyone is going to bend the rules or outright break them when it suits their purpose.