Posted by Social Science Research Network
By Adriaan Ten Kate Sr.
Abstract: Collusion, particularly collusion is in the form of hardcore cartel behavior, is the worst antitrust offense of all. People engaging in such conduct should be punished severely. That is the consensus among antitrust officials. I argue against, that collusion is not that bad as antitrust officials want to make us believe. Colluders are just people of the same trade trying to avoid the race to the bottom which competition implies for them. Moreover, they do it in a way that is hard to prohibit in a free society under a rule of law. In my judgement, the prohibition of horizontal agreements in modern antitrust regimes and, even more so, the way it is enforced, generate substantial legal uncertainty. That way, they undermine the credibility of the institutions and bend the rule of law to its breaking point.