Antitrust in 2025: Cartels, Agency Effectiveness and a Return to Back to the Future?

Daniel Sokol, Dec 16, 2010

Predicting the future is difficult. Advances in economics and antitrust law’s ability to incorporate such changes have been tremendous in the past 15 years. In 1985, Robert Zumekis’ movie Back to the Future came out. In that movie, Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) travels back in time from 1985 to 1955. Marty is shocked by the differences he discovers between his world and the past world that he now inhabits. I think that most practitioners in 1985 would have been shocked to discover that antitrust now encompasses over 100 jurisdictions, that the Supreme Court now more or less fully embraces Chicago/Harvard approaches, that the rise of computing has led to massive problems of too much data to go through as part of HSR second requests, and that sophisticated econometric derived data is possible as part of antitrust analysis in mergers, monopolization cases, and in terms of damage calculations. What then can I predict with some degree of certainty so that when Michael J. Fox next makes the jump in his time machine from 2010 to 2025, can he predict with some certainty the antitrust of the future? I will focus on two areas where I have some comfort in making predictions.