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Yesterday’s Antitrust Laws Can’t Solve Today’s Problems

October 6, 2016

By Tyler Cowen

One of the central premises of the “new liberal economics,” as described by the Hillary Clinton campaign, is the notion that monopoly power is growing and must be stopped by applying more antitrust law. While it is true that many indicators of market concentration are up, it’s less clear that antitrust law is an effective remedy.

Reading through old cases does not induce great faith in the contemporary usefulness of 19th- and 20th-century antitrust laws. In most areas of manufacturing there is far more foreign competition, if only potentially, than through most of the history of those laws.

For instance, the famous suits against Standard Oil, Kodak and Alcoa wouldn’t make sense in today’s globalized economy. There has recently been a glut of aluminum, and most of the supply comes from Russia, Asia and Australia. Apple and Android smartphones disrupted, and vastly improved, the camera market some time ago. Previously high oil prices were caused more by emerging-economy demand than by domestic monopolization.

Read the full article at BloombergView.com: Yesterday's Antitrust Laws Can't Solve Today's Problems