Polycentric Competition Law
Current Legal Problems (2018)
44 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2018
Date Written: September 1, 2018
In a world marked by financial instability, limited growth, rising inequality, deteriorating environment, growing corporate consolidation, and political turmoil, calls are made to shift the dominant competition law paradigm towards new directions. These may bring competition law beyond its usual comfort zone of assessing business, or government, practices from the point of view of their effect on prices, output and, more broadly, on consumer welfare.
Competition law is seen as a tool to be used in various circumstances in order to ‘correct’ market as well as non-market (e.g. government) failures, that result from restrictions of competition, to the extent that these affect social welfare. These failures may relate to the protection of personal data and privacy, the protection of the environment, the promotion of social mobility, the harnessing of disruptive innovation, or the mitigation of technology risks. Some go even further and argue that competition law may well be employed in order to preserve a number of other ‘values’ of social justice, thought to be intrinsic in democratic capitalism and the liberal order, and to which competition law should be sensitive.
By putting forward the model of ‘polycentric competition law’ and by explaining how this compares with the mainstream ‘monocentric’ vision that has prevailed so far, the study aims to unveil and portray the rites of passage in this transition, and to explore the liminal condition of modern competition law.
Keywords: competition law, complex economy, innovation, environment, privacy, governance, consumers, citizens, polycentricity, monocentricity
JEL Classification: A11, A12, A13, D6, D70, I30, K21, L40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation