The New Road to Serfdom: The Curse of Bigness and the Failure of Antitrust

This Article argues for a paradigm shift in modern antitrust policy. Rather than being concerned exclusively with consumer welfare, antitrust law should also be concerned with consolidated corporate power. Regulators and courts should consider the social and political, as well as the economic, consequences of corporate mergers. The vision that antitrust must be a key tool for limiting consolidated corporate power has a venerable legacy, extending back to the origins of antitrust law in early seventeenth century England, running throughout American history, and influencing the enactment of U.S. antitrust laws. However, the Chicago School’s view that antitrust law should be exclusively concerned with consumer welfare— that is, total industry output and consumer prices—has now become the consensus view. The result has impoverished communities, decreased innovation, increased corporate cronyism, and diminished the freedom of American citizens. This is too important a topic to be left up to antitrust specialists alone. As it was during the presidential election of 1912, antitrust must again be a subject of wide public debate.