Ideological Conflict and the Origins of Antitrust Policy
Tulane Law Review, Vol. 66, No. 1, 1991
68 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2009
Date Written: June 3, 2009
This article, published in 1991, describes the two great ideologies of the market and the state that shaped antitrust law at its inception. In the evolutionary vision, market outcomes are spontaneous and unintended results of countless interactions of self-interested individuals; the resulting social order is presumptively optimal; and state intervention is unwise or pernicious. In the intentional vision, social and market outcomes are the result of the conscious intent of powerful actors; the social order resulting from these actions is illegitimate; and democratic governmental intervention is necessary to restore legitimacy. The Sherman Act (1890) was a compromise that shared elements of both visions. Adherents of the visions competed to shape the courts' interpretation of the statute in its early decades.
Keywords: antitrust, Sherman Act, evolution, common law
JEL Classification: K21, L40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation