Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Technocracy and Antitrust

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Thumb_faculty_crane_danjpg One of the more thoughtful pieces this year is Technocracy and Antitrust by Dan Crane (Cardozo Law, NYU Law visiting).

ABSTRACT: U.S. antitrust enforcement has declined in political salience over the past few decades even while levels of public antitrust enforcement and funding for the antitrust agencies have remained generally consistent with those of earlier periods. Antitrust has become a technocratic discipline in the minds of the political elite, delegated by Presidents and Congress to specialists in the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission. Nonetheless, antitrust retains influential populist institutions including the civil and criminal jury, an adjudicatory system focused on binary determinations about guilt or innocence, and a Federal Trade Commission that is constrained from exercising a norm-creation role. The technocratic shift begun by the political elite could be furthered by a variety of reforms including separating cartel enforcement from other antitrust enforcement, moving from adjudication to administration, and granting the FTC norm-creation powers. Technocratic reforms are justified by three key attributes of modern antitrust - consensus on antitrust goals, resolution of the most divisive ideological questions, and the absence of a need to balance the interests of identified groups.

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