Integration, Disintegration and the Protection of Competition: Of Images, Stories and Myths
12 Pages Posted: 23 Jul 2013
Date Written: 1992
As events in Europe have unfolded over the last year, the contrast between political disintegration in the post-socialist world and the integration of states in Western Europe has become increasingly stark. The Soviet Union, one of the world's superpowers, has disintegrated, together with its empire, while in Europe independent states have become increasingly interwoven in the legal structure of the European Communities. The juxtaposition of these two seemingly contradictory processes often has seemed perplexing.
My claim here is that at the core of both of these processes is an image rooted in a story becoming a myth. The image is of a particular relationship between law and economic activity in which competition and the free market create wealth, and law assures that such wealth will be acquired fairly and distributed equitably. The story is of the reconstruction of Europe in the wake of the Second World War. This story has acquired mythic status, and understanding it provides critical insights into the apparent contradictions in contemporary Europe.
In this interpretive Essay, then, I seek to: (1) better understand these two world-changing processes, (2) identify and analyze the important and often neglected roles that law is playing in these processes, and (3) demonstrate the potential value of using narrative-imagery analysis in areas such as economic law that generally have been reserved for more conventional forms of legal thought.
Keywords: competition law, antitrust law, international law, comparative law, Europe, legal systems, legal structure, economic activity, 20th century history, narrative-imagery analysis
JEL Classification: K19, K21, K33, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation