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Antitrust Populism

 |  June 29, 2017

Posted by Social Science Research Network

Antitrust Populism

By Barak Orbach (University of Arizona)

Abstract:      In antitrust literature, “populism” is typically associated with sympathy for small local businesses and fear of bigness. In other areas and everyday language, populism is understood as a political tool that is used to attack existing institutions and influential elites. With the rise of populism in the United States and around the world, this Essay questions and criticizes the antitrust tradition of equating populism with ideas that used to be influential decades ago. This approach effectively shields contemporary antitrust populists from the criticism and stigma that they deserve and, thus, empowers populist ideas that courts sometimes endorse. The Essay further explores the relationship of technological progress and antitrust populism. The Essay argues that courts and agencies should make effort to reduce the influence of populism on antitrust law and policy.

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