The Omega Man or The Isolation of U.S. Antitrust Law

Posted by Social Science Research Network

The Omega Man or The Isolation of U.S. Antitrust Law

By Spencer Weber Waller (Loyola University of Chicago)

There is a classic science fiction novel and film that present a metaphor for the isolation of United States antitrust law in the current global context. Richard Mathiesson’s 1954 classic science fiction novel I am Legend, and the later 1971 film released under the name of The Omega Man starring Charleton Heston, both deal with the fate of Robert Neville, a survivor of a world-wide pandemic who believes he is the last man on Earth.
While I am Legend and The Omega Man are obviously works of fantasy, it nonetheless has resonance for contemporary antitrust debate and discourse. United States antitrust law and policy divergences significantly from the rest of the global antitrust community in important areas of scope, philosophy, doctrine, procedure, remedies, and institutions. Much of this divergence in world view is the product of history and path dependence that is largely unique to the United States experience. At the same time, some of the divergence is the result of ideological choices over the past forty years that improbably have remained in place in the United States, while other politics, economics, values, and policy choices have come into prominence throughout the rest of the world.
Unlike The Omega Man, there is no plague and there are no monsters. But there are major fault lines in competition law and policy where t…


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