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Normative goals in merger control: Why merger control should not attempt to achieve “better” outcomes than competition

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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.