Competition Laws and their Enforcement in the US and Europe: Origins, Evolution and Contestation
Cheltenham : Edward Elgar
Handbooks of Research on Public Policy series
InKellow, A.; Porter, T.; Ronit, K. (ed.), Handbook of Business and Public Policy, pp. 75-89
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Kellow, A.; Porter, T.; Ronit, K. (ed.), Handbook of Business and Public Policy
SubjectHandbooks of Research on Public Policy series; Institute for Management Research
The idea that the sheer exposure to intensive price competition boosts the competitiveness of entire economies and increases social welfare and economic growth has cast a spell on politicians and academics alike, particularly since the ascendancy of neoliberal ideas from the 1980s onwards. The proliferation of competition regimes around the world is testimony to the prevailing idea that capitalist competition is worthwhile to be safeguarded and fostered through state regulation. This chapter traces the origins and evolution of US and European competition laws and enforcement practices against the backdrop of capitalist development and the rise of neoliberalism. Adopting a critical political economy perspective, the chapter critiques the atomistic and reductionist social scientific precepts that serve to legitimize the neoliberal type of competition regulation, and argues that prioritization of price competition ultimately deflates labour. It will be argued that despite the growing critique on competition rules in the wake of the 2008 crisis, and a climate of renewed protectionism and lingering trade wars, as well as more recently, the emergency rescue packages in response to the crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, EU and US competition laws continue to be immersed with an orthodox neoliberal orientation.
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