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August 16, 2006


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Kimball Corson

Nice name, The Antitrust Enterprise. Sounds very much like a ship that sank, this one after Judge Posner pried a hole in the hull with the thought that the Sherman Act protects only competition, not competitors, so swatting small fry with dirty tricks is now acceptable recreation for large market shareholders, the FTC Act notwithstanding. It is almost like Congress restricted the jurisdiction of Federal courts in the area. A big mistake, I believe, that we will some day soon enough regret, all linguistic nicities aside.

Kimball Corson

An assessment of the tenents on the book, bringing maximal candor to bear, goes like this:

(1) Not every anti-competitive practice can be condemned;

MOST anti-competitive practices are just fine, just do not knick anyone who matters or upset one of the big boys. It is open season on small fry, especially if they are interesting or innovative.

(2) Intent evidence should be used sparingly;

Intent does not matter because we do not really care if you did intend to cream that little competitor, just as long as he was a small fry. Then its OK. Do not, however, mess with the big boys.

(3) Whether intervention is justified may defend depend on the remedy;

That is, after 10 billion gallons of blood from many are spilled we will then argue about what to do, but eventually turn to which form of hand slap should we use.

(4) An antitrust rule that cannot be administered effectively is worse than no rule at all; and

The rule of do nothing or next to it is extremely easy rule to administer and consistent with my positions here that the law is only to make life safe for the big boys, to preserve and protect the status quo and to have law serve only monied interests.

(5) Administrative and compliance costs count.

DOING NOTHING most of the time has very low administrative and compliance costs. Governmental officials can take longer vacations. Budgets can be cuts.

Are we surprised Microsoft funds research at Chicago or that no one is lobbying for a privately enforceable, federal mini FTC Act or no dirty tricks act. Besides who can fight the big boys, given their purses and consider how clean of antitrust cases the present system keeps federal court dockets.

We should be ashamed of the Chicago position. We often do not even get the analysis right. The small American family farm, for example, was fair game for extermination by the large corporate combines only because economists did not include in the production functions of such farms the excellent quality of Americans that were also produced on such farms. The Chicago general position here is, I believe, just sorry free market apologetics which fails to address the very elements which have long offended and alienated intellectuals in regard to Western Capitalism, still.

Kimball Corson

Suitable castrated, the antitrust laws have no good uses.


"Hovenkamp starts with the definition of network as 'a market subject to economies of scale in consumption.' That seems wrong; that is more a definition of a network externality that of a network itself. We should think of the early canal system as a network even though the key consumption externality—congestion— was negative."

As a former U of C grad with the entirte economics background of a 1200-person Econ 101 class my freshman year 13 years ago, I found the above quote, and Professor Picker's class a little frustrating, daunting and funny.

Why is it that of all the areas of academia (non-science) economics has its own language. Isn't there some better way to say "We should think of the early canal system as a network even though the key consumption externality—congestion— was negative" in English?

While I understand it was never the Law School's function to give remedial Economics lessons to its students, it always seemed a little odd to have so many classes geared toward those with graduate-level econ backgrounds.

Perhaps one of the greatest revolutions in Antitrust Law, and the school of law and economics in general, would be to speak and write in plain English. That's why of all the academics on the subject, I always preferred Judge Posner. His writing always seems to take into account the fact that his reader might not be a PhD candidate.



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