Antitrust's Unconventional Politics

22 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2018

See all articles by Daniel A. Crane

Daniel A. Crane

University of Michigan Law School

Date Written: March 26, 2018


For the first time in a generation, political pressure is growing to reform antitrust in a considerably more interventionist direction. To the bafflement of many observers, these political pressures are emerging simultaneously from both wings of the political spectrum. Although unconventional in presentist right/left terms, antitrust's ideological ambiguity has longstanding historical roots. This Essay examines three historical friction points that help explain the current political dislocations around antitrust reform: (1) the coupling of ideological aversion to large scale in government and business; (2) the shifting meaning of the word "monopoly," from exclusive governmentally granted privilege to privately obtained market power; and (3) pragmatic concerns that antitrust enforcement is necessary to the survival of the capitalist order.

JEL Classification: K1

Suggested Citation

Crane, Daniel A., Antitrust's Unconventional Politics (March 26, 2018). Virginia Law Review Online (Forthcoming); U of Michigan Public Law Research Paper No. 593; U of Michigan Law & Econ Research Paper No. 18-007. Available at SSRN:

Daniel A. Crane (Contact Author)

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

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Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
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