Antitrust has been subject to an unusual degree of public attention of late. In the U.S., President Biden has made antitrust enforcement a key pillar of his agenda. New appointees at the Federal level (notably Jonathan Kanter & Lina Khan at the DOJ & FTC, respectively) have pledged to aggressively enforce the antitrust rules, including in areas that have not been a focus for several decades.
The pieces in this Chronicle provide an overview of the Biden administration’s ambitions, its achievements so far, and critiques of aspects of new shifting antitrust policy in the U.S.
Eleanor M. Fox provides historical context by setting out the foundational role the U.S. has had in pioneering the very notion of antitrust law. Throughout the 20th Century, U.S. enforcers and courts developed a set of rules that was harsh on price-fixing, powerful firms’ exclusionary practices, and mergers that would consolidate power. In recent years, however, certain observers have been critical of developments in U.S. antitrust enforcement. As the article notes, there is a perception (held rightly or wrongly) that the U.S. has been less active than needed in key new sectors of the economy, while Europe (and others) heeded a call to action. The piece sets out the characteristics of U.S. law (and in particular the enforcement of Section 2 of the Sherman Act) that may be responsible for this perceived loss of thought leadership, and points out how the new administr...