Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Dan Crane, Michigan explores Antitrust's Unconventional Politics.
ABSTRACT: For the first time in a generation, political pressure is growing to reform antitrust in a considerably more interventionist direction. To the bafflement of many observers, these political pressures are emerging simultaneously from both wings of the political spectrum. Although unconventional in presentist right/left terms, antitrust's ideological ambiguity has longstanding historical roots. This Essay examines three historical friction points that help explain the current political dislocations around antitrust reform: (1) the coupling of ideological aversion to large scale in government and business; (2) the shifting meaning of the word "monopoly," from exclusive governmentally granted privilege to privately obtained market power; and (3) pragmatic concerns that antitrust enforcement is necessary to the survival of the capitalist order.