Rawlsian Antitrust

CPI Antitrust Chronicle

CCP Working Paper 21-04

22 Pages Posted: 1 May 2021

See all articles by Chris Pike

Chris Pike

University of East Anglia (UEA) - Centre for Competition Policy; Fideres Partners LLP

Date Written: April 15, 2021


This paper attempts to reconcile the goals of competition and equality within antitrust, and in doing so, suggests that this task can be seen to correspond to the efforts that John Rawls made to reconcile liberalism and equality within his principles of justice. Applying a Rawlsian analysis to this problem, I propose the adoption of inclusivity as a secondary objective within competition law (not as an additional primary objective, as for example under a public interest test), and suggest that this approach might therefore be labelled Rawlsian Antitrust. In locating this approach amongst the existing established schools of thought, I emphasise both its economic basis, and the clarity of its values, and how the reconciliation between those might be operationalised. I identify the existence of both pro-enforcement and more cautious factions within this approach. However, I suggest that identifying the common ground between them might form the basis for enabling competition policy to contribute to the fight for greater inclusivity, arguably the great challenge of our time, which was first stirred, and then made urgent by successive crisis that have shaken our world, and which now threaten to burn down the technocratic antitrust chateau.

Keywords: antitrust, competition law, competition policy, market power, inequality, fairness, inclusivity

JEL Classification: L4, K21, D02, D31, D42, D63

Suggested Citation

Pike, Chris and Pike, Chris, Rawlsian Antitrust (April 15, 2021). CPI Antitrust Chronicle, CCP Working Paper 21-04, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3832594

Chris Pike (Contact Author)

Fideres Partners LLP ( email )

University of East Anglia (UEA) - Centre for Competition Policy ( email )

Norwich Research Park
Norwich, Norfolk NR47TJ
United Kingdom

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