The Ideological Roots of America’s Market Power Problem

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The sweeping market power problem we confront today is a result of the current antitrust framework. The enfeebled state of antitrust enforcement traces directly to an intellectual movement that fundamentally rewrote antitrust law —redefining its purpose, its orientation, and the values that underlie it. Addressing the full scope of the market power problem requires grappling with the fact that the core of antitrust has been warped. To be sure, many of the ideas being introduced are worth pursuing. But they pick at the symptoms of an ideology rather than the ideology itself.Engaging the issue, by contrast, will go to the heart of why the current regime is crippled, enabling us to tackle the underlying theories and assumptions that have defanged antitrust. It will help ensure that calls for reinvigorated enforcement are not misdirected or exploited, and help ensure that doctrine develops to promote—and not undercut—the proper values of antitrust. Doing so is also likely to reveal or illuminate additional areas of unused authority, under-used doctrine, or contestable areas of both.