Normative goals in merger control: Why merger control should not attempt to achieve “better” outcomes than competitionClick here to read the full article online
Critical observers state that current antitrust policies fall short of addressing the wider societal implications of a market economy, inter alia in merger control. The interests of employees in decent wages, merger impacts on the environment, or the pursuit of a governmental industrial policy are claimed to deserve recognition beyond the traditional consumer welfare paradigm. This article voices skepticism. Such postulates can jeopardize an important achievement: to have bestowed on consumers the mandate of being the ultimate sovereign over the outcomes of the competitive process. Antitrust agencies would become exposed to a plethora of irreconcilable societal expectations and rent seeking efforts. This would lead to an increased politicization of merger enforcement, and it would weaken competition as a design-principle for a market economy. This article claims that society at large is better served with a merger control regime that devotes itself to consumer welfare through competition as a mono-teleology.