Wettbewerbsfreiheit und Wohlfahrt (Freedom of Competition and Welfare)
ORDO: Jahrbuch für die Ordnung von Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, Vol. 63, pp. 429-448, 2012
28 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2012 Last revised: 15 Feb 2016
Date Written: 2012
Freedom of competition and economic welfare have identical economic foundations. These concepts diverged, however, as they became subject of the disciplines of economics and law, of systems of philosophy or of narratives of probable or inevitable historical developments. This paper looks at some of the more influential philosophical ideas in terms of their persistent direct or indirect influence on our present understanding of competition and welfare. Particularly notable are perceived or received antinomic interpretations of competition as a condition of economic welfare, as an individual right, an instrument of economic organisation or the purpose of rules against restrictions of competition. As far as the competition law relevance is concerned the crucial issue is the uncertain causal relation of competitive or anticompetitive conduct and its welfare effects. The theoretical and practical difficulties in verifying welfare effects become irrelevant by treating competition as a process of coordinating decentral economic planning and freedom of competition as a governing principle of a private law society.
Keywords: Pareto-optimality, utilitarianism, Amartya Sen, EU-Competition Law, invisible hand, Jeremy Bentham, Hegel, Thomas Hobbes, Immanuel Kant, interdependencies, ordoliberalism, more economic approach, internal market, human rights, Foucault
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