Bring Globalism Home: Lessons from Antitrust and Beyond
24 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2007
Date Written: 2000
There is vast literature on both harmonization and globalization. Much of the extensive commentary, at least in the United States, is outward looking. It focuses on how other countries have changed, or should change, their laws and legal culture to more fully participate in the global economy and the information age that is upon us. Other commentators take a more cautionary view and examine the price being paid by these same countries as a result of the changes they are implementing.
I want to take a different point of view and examine the lessons to be learned by the United States as a result of globalism. This essay focuses primarily on the area of antitrust or competition law, where the United States is a leader and one of the senior statesmen in the field. From this vantage point, the United States is often quick to teach, lecture, and criticize other legal systems that frequently do nothing worse than enact and enforce competition law in a manner that is different from the way we approach the same type of problems. The extreme version of this syndrome is, of course, both arrogant and offensive to sophisticated legal systems seeking to achieve varying objectives in a culture and history different from our own. I propose two changes. First, the United States must acquire the ability to analyze other legal systems from the point of view of whether legal rules and institutions serve their needs, not ours. Second, we must begin to study and analyze the developments of the more than one hundred foreign systems of competition law for the lessons we can use to reform our own system of competition law to better play the role of antitrust senior statesman in a global economy. This essay is a plea for change in the United States based on the lessons learned abroad both in antitrust law and in the broader issues of economic regulation and national sovereignty. It is not intended as an answer to these vexing issues but rather as the beginning of a different type of dialogue and a richer role for the United States in the global marketplace and world community.
Keywords: harmonization, globalization, antitrust, competition law, European Union, state action, antitrust immunities, federalism, regulation, antidumping
JEL Classification: F02, F13, F15, K21, K33, L33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation