Monday, August 3, 2009 - The Progress & Freedom Foundation Blog

Again, Antitrust Law Can't Keep Up with High-Tech

Last week I mentioned this terrific piece by Farhad Manjoo of Slate about how the high-tech marketplace evolves too rapidly for creaky Analog Era antitrust laws to keep up. Along those same lines, Gordon Crovitz of the Wall Street Journal has an excellent new essay on "The Antitrust Anachronism" that is must-reading. Some highlights:

The antitrust laws are anachronisms when applied to industries of constant innovation. Even theories about the role of antitrust were designed for the industrial era.

Aside from postponing consumer benefits, antitrust reviews of business deals can become a form of politics, with regulators favoring one company over another. ...

Instead of more aggressive enforcement of a legal relic, the real question is when will technology's ever faster cycles of creative destruction spell the end of antitrust law? Consumers benefit from competition, innovation and new technology, which regulation cannot provide but can suppress. Instead of using 19th-century tools for this century's challenges, President Obama should tell his regulators to study the humility of technologists who understand that today's leader can be tomorrow's laggard.

Amen, brother.

posted by Adam Thierer @ 12:11 AM | Antitrust & Competition Policy