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Antitrust's "buck-naked" emperor. (For the Record).

GEORGE BITTLINGMAYER'S EXCELlent article "The Antitrust Emperor's Clothes" (Fall 2002) is marred by his unwillingness to conclude that all of the antitrust statutes should be repealed. Bittlingmayer cogently argues that antitrust is corrupted by special interests, was never a legitimate response to "textbook monopoly," and that the empirical case for antitrust "remains weak." (Weak? The empirical case for antitrust has always been nonexistent.) Well, if all of this (and far more) is true, then what legitimizes any antitrust regulation?

The burden of proof has always been on the antitrust enthusiasts to show that antitrust theory makes sense and that there is evidence (from the cases, presumably) that antitrust increases efficient resource allocation. Yet for more than 100 years, the antitrust establishment of attorneys and academics has completely failed this burden of proof.

The fact remains that the emperor is (and has always been) buck-naked and it is not good science or strategy for serious antitrust critics to pretend that he may well have on some undergarments and possibly a T-shirt. Antitrust makes about as much scientific sense as astrology, and honest logic dictates that we recommend repeal. Our collective failure to say this straight out may be partially responsible for Microsoft and similar nightmares.
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Author:Armentano, Dom
Date:Dec 22, 2002
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