The Present New Antitrust Era

25 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2018 Last revised: 29 Mar 2019

Date Written: December 12, 2018


Antitrust scholars frequently refer to an “ideological pendulum” to describe the rise and fall of trends in the evolution of antitrust law. This pendulum arguably swings between fairness and laissez-faire visions, while a technocracy vision moderates its motion. Mapping key phases in the evolution of antitrust law, I argue that a new antitrust era with distinctive characteristics has been forming in recent years.

The present new antitrust era is a product of growing tensions and contradictions among policy prescriptions. After several decades in which antitrust was a specialized field that drew little public attention, in the aftermath of the Great Recession, antitrust became a proxy for disagreements over economic policies. Today, antitrust law exemplifies striking discrepancies among positions advanced by the Supreme Court, the established antitrust technocracy, political populism, and economics. This resurrection of public and political interest in antitrust, I argue, marks the end of one antitrust era and the beginning of another.

Keywords: antitrust, fairness, laissez-faire, technocracy

Suggested Citation

Orbach, Barak, The Present New Antitrust Era (December 12, 2018). Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 18-37, 60 William & Mary Law Review 1439 (2019), Available at SSRN: or

Barak Orbach (Contact Author)

University of Arizona ( email )

1201 E. Speedway Blvd.
Tuscon, AZ 85721-0176
United States
520-626-7256 (Phone)

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