Focus on Public Policies

The Neo-Antitrust. Between Ends and Means


Abstract


The article deals with some of the challenges of antitrust agencies when confronting the new world in which private power has increased and has eroded the space and rights of consumers in new ways. In particular, the so-called monopoly power of Big Tech is now exercised upon the costumers not by raising prices or reducing output, but by subjecting them to treatments that may violate their rights, something that does not necessarily break antitrust rules.

In such a scenario, movements, such as Neo-Antitrust, argue in favor of a stronger degree of intervention, in order to come back to the original goals and are in favor of a new reading of antitrust rules, yet none of these rules nor the tools of antitrust authorities have actually been changed. While the Neo-antitrust invokes new recipes, the author underlines the flexibility of competition law – flexibility that gives the law a particular strength and allows it to address new phenomena, such as novel positions of power - but also the need for a cautious approach. Antitrust is a significant component of our legal orders, but it cannot assume the entire burden of countering any new manifestation of private power (for instance the power over unaware consumers' data). Indeed, the ends we read in antitrust cannot change the means established by the law to pursue them: the tools at our disposal can be adapted over time, but the rule of law does not allow judicial and administrative authorities to freely expand the means for the sake of whatever noble and even constitutional end.

Keywords


Neo-Antitrust; populism; new monopolies; Big Tech; aims and tools of antitrust rules; Consumer Welfare; Competition enforcement

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12870/iar-12884

References






Antitrust & Public Policies
ISSN: 2284-3272

Iscrizione al Tribunale di Roma n. 300, del 12 dicembre 2013, modificata con registrazione n. Reg. Certificati 216 bis/2019

Last issue published on December 30, 2019