Can Competition Lawyers Bake? Rethinking Competition Law at the Time of Doughnut Economics
Posted: 7 Mar 2019
Date Written: February 13, 2019
Competition law has played a key role in the shaping of modern-day global food supply chains that are characterised by massive imbalances of power; an unfair sharing of value, and the continuous struggle to produce cheap food. This puts a huge burden on the environment, and on people’s livelihoods through suppressed incomes due to concentrated bargaining power in the food processing and retailing industries. At the heart of the problem is the current antitrust mantra by the EU and the National Competition Authorities across Europe (and most of the world) that is based on mainstream economic and the paradigm of consumer welfare, the idea that ‘cheap is good’, market as an efficient and mechanic place, and on nature, society and the commons as irrelevant (unless they have a monetary impact on price or on availability of goods). Inspired by Kate Raworth’s invitation to rethink economics so that humanity can operate within the Doughnut (respecting the planetary boundaries and strengthening the social foundations), this article looks at the way in which competition law poses an obstacle to the achievement of this goal and what could be done in order to imagine a competition law fit for purpose.
Keywords: competition law, doughnut economics, sustainability, planetary boundaries, fairness
JEL Classification: K21, K32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation