Technology, Antitrust, Trade, Taxes …. Laws Need an Update?

Good piece by Steve Pearlstein of George Mason (Schar School) in the Washington Post today on tech companies and antitrust.

It’s clear to me that U.S. antitrust enforcement is behind the curve concerning global tech companies. Current economic theories of antitrust focus on price competition and protecting the consumer. Not sure how well that is working out.

The EU is clearly now in the lead on antitrust enforcement (Google case).

Two additional thoughts.

One, the impact of globalization, not only technology, on antitrust needs to be much better understood.

Two, there is a critical inconsistency in economic theory concerning antitrust and trade remedies.

Current antitrust laws emphasis is on protecting, so it says, the consumer. But trade law (antidumping and subsidies) aim at protecting U.S. producers. This goes back to the late 19th century.

My conclusion. Really need a more global and consistent assessment of U.S. economic legislation dealing with both antitrust and trade remedies (and I would add tax law) in today’s high-tech and interconnected markets.

Is Amazon Getting too Big?” Washington Post (July 30, 2017).
Competition Authorities Need a Digital Upgrade.” Financial Times (July 31, 2017).

 

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About Stuart Malawer

Distinguished Service Professor of Law & International Trade at George Mason University (School of Public Policy).
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