After Consumer Welfare, Now What? The “Protection Of Competition” Standard In Practice

By Tim Wu – 

Given a country founded on principles of anti-monopoly and the decentralization of power, an antitrust revival in the United States may have been inevitable. Some in the current revival have targeted the “consumer welfare” standard, but would that make the antitrust law too indeterminate? I argue that the leading alternative, “protection of competition” is actually no more uncertain, and arguably more predictable than the highly abstract goal of protecting consumer welfare and truer to the enacted goals of antitrust. The question should be: is the complained-of conduct (or merger) merely part of the competitive process, or is it meant to “suppress or even destroy competition?”