In This Review

The Antitrust Paradigm: Restoring a Competitive Economy
The Antitrust Paradigm: Restoring a Competitive Economy
By Jonathan B. Baker
Harvard University Press, 2019, 368 pp

Baker, a former director of the Federal Trade Commission, believes that the U.S. government has gone much too far in relaxing the enforcement of its century-old antitrust laws. He places a substantial measure of blame on the so-called Chicago school of economics, whose free-market theories have wielded substantial influence over agencies entrusted with the enforcement of financial regulations and over the courts, particularly the Supreme Court. The results of lax enforcement include an increased concentration of market share in both new and old industries, the growth of corporate profits as a percentage of total income, and a decline in overall productivity. In Baker’s view, contrary to what others claim, these outcomes are not justified by any resulting innovation: indeed, many acquisitions by large firms are intended to suppress upstarts. The book’s detailed analysis draws almost entirely on U.S. laws, institutions, and court decisions, albeit with a favorable nod to competition policy in the eu. But Baker’s arguments apply to all modern economies, which must establish and maintain competition in order to thrive.