Occupy Wall Street and Antitrust
85 Southern California Law Review Postscript 33 (2012)
20 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2012 Last revised: 10 Jan 2013
Date Written: March 1, 2012
Capitalism, some declare, is in crisis. One concern, which the Occupy Wall Street protesters and many Americans share, is how a relatively small group of corporate and wealthy individuals now wields too much economic influence and control in the United States and the world. The prevailing belief is that financial institutions’ power and influence represent a major threat to America.
So what does antitrust have to say about this public unease? Few would likely believe the Supreme Court’s Standard Oil opinion handed down a century ago would relate to their present concerns. That is unfortunate. The concerns Standard Oil raises are salient today. At the forefront, then and now, are issues of income inequality and crony capitalism. Over the past 30 years, antitrust policy lost its way and now has several paradoxes. But the current public sentiment recaptures what others have long known, and what this Essay explores: Competition and antitrust are more political, than economic, concepts.
Keywords: Antitrust, Sherman Act, Standard Oil, Income Inequality, Too-Big-To-Fail
JEL Classification: K21, L40, L41, O15, D31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation