AT&T’s proposed $85 billion purchase of Time Warner is raising eyebrows – and fundamental questions about the purposes of antitrust law, writes James Stewart in the Times:
Politicians were piling on this week to criticize the deal, including Donald J. Trump; Tim Kaine, the Democratic nominee for vice president; and Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Al Franken of Minnesota….
A younger generation of antitrust scholars who are rethinking the nation’s fundamental approach to antitrust law may prove even more influential.
In vertical mergers, a company buys a supplier; in horizontal mergers, direct competitors combine.
But the new generation harks back to the original trustbusters of the early 20th century, who were most concerned about preventing corporations from gaining too much power.
“The antitrust system as it stands is focused on prices to consumers, innovation and efficiencies,” Mr. Wu said. “That reflects the triumph of the University of Chicago school of economics. But there’s an older tradition, embodied by Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, that says a concentration of too much power in too few hands is bad for democracy and bad for consumers.”