After 11 years as Chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in this article Rod Sims reflects on a range of antitrust issues, emphasising their importance to our economy more broadly. There is much here to promote reflection and discussion within the antitrust community. He takes a broad look at the objective of antitrust, wonders why antitrust takes so little account of corporate strategy logic and experience, and argues competition agencies should bias towards over enforcement if they are to be effective. He then argues that merger laws around the world need to change towards greater focus on the industry concentration flowing from the merger and less on predicting future conduct. He discusses the role of economists in antitrust, what to do about the significant limitations of court processes in antitrust and looks at the different approaches being considered to the regulation of large digital platforms. Finally, he asks why competition law practitioners apparently interested in consumer welfare have such disdain for consumer law, and he argues that competition agencies need to be the champions of competition across all its dimensions.

By Rod Sims[1]

 

I. INTRODUCTION

Antitrust sits quietly to the side of mainstream economic debates yet is so fundamental to them. This is my main take away from 11 years as agency head at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (“ACCC”). It prompts me to offer some reflections.

While an economist

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