Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

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

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Can We Protect Competition Without Protecting Consumers?

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Oles Andriychuk (University of East Anglia) asks Can We Protect Competition Without Protecting Consumers?

ABSTRACT: This paper suggests that an interpretation of competition solely as a means to increase consumer welfare eliminates substantial characteristics from competition as a process, depriving competition from its original meaning. It is misleading to define competition by evaluating its external role on the economy. This role is important only from the perspective of performance. From the ontological view however it is irrelevant. Some forms of competition are good or beneficial others are considered as harmful or undesirable, but in both cases we talk about different features of the same phenomenon. The idea that ‘competition has to bring positive outcomes for economy, otherwise it is not competition’ is logically incorrect. It is impossible to qualify the essence of object only by exploring its external effects. The paper concludes that competition itself deserves its protection even in circumstances when it does not lead to efficiency gains. In this respect competition can be seen as a ‘luxury product’ of market-oriented societies, which is not indispensable for achieving such values as industrial growth, market integration, social coherency, consumer welfare or innovations.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/antitrustprof_blog/2010/07/can-we-protect-competition-without-protecting-consumers.html

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