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Antitrust’s Sordid History

Summary:
In my latest column for AIER, I summarize the rent-seeking-filled history of American antitrust legislation. Here’s my conclusion: George Stigler was incorrect. Far from monopolists being the only parties to oppose antitrust legislation, it was firms seeking monopoly power — producers seeking protection from new competitors — that pushed hard for antitrust statutes. Antitrust, while costumed as a tool to promote competition, was from its start a scheme to promote and protect monopoly power. Comments

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In my latest column for AIER, I summarize the rent-seeking-filled history of American antitrust legislation. Here’s my conclusion:

George Stigler was incorrect. Far from monopolists being the only parties to oppose antitrust legislation, it was firms seeking monopoly power — producers seeking protection from new competitors — that pushed hard for antitrust statutes. Antitrust, while costumed as a tool to promote competition, was from its start a scheme to promote and protect monopoly power.

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Don Boudreaux
He is a professor of economics at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Previously, he was president of the Foundation for Economic Education.

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