Autumn 2006, Volume 2, Number 2
State Aid and Welfare Standards
Whose welfare should competition policy protect? That is the subject of the first two articles in our Autumn 2006 edition. Is it society at large, including businesses whose profits, after all, ultimately inure to people? Or is it just those people who consume products? The fact that we are even having a debate over whether consumer or total (consumer plus producer) welfare is the right standard for competition policy is remarkable. The U.S. consensus that the antitrust laws should be about competition, not redistribution or protection of small business, is only about four decades old. And only in the last few years did the European Commission start focusing on consumer welfare as its guiding principle.