The Case For Repealing Antitrust Law

Smith Presentation on Repealing Antitrust Law

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The life of a free marketeer is not always happy one.  A few weeks ago, I advised a group of politicians on how best to communicate their message in a world of rational ignorance—that is to say, a world where opinions are important, but no one is listening.  Last week, I spoke with leaders of the automotive and chemical industries about the need to legitimize their companies if they wished to avoid the pariah status now enjoyed by the tobacco industry.  And now, I seek to persuade an audience of lawyers that we should abolish antitrust laws, which have become increasingly lucrative for the legal profession. 

My remarks are organized into four sections.  Part I narrates the personal odyssey that has led me to this conclusion—an odyssey, by the way, that I believe mirrors the general trend in thinking by most members of our society.  Part II discusses the threat posed by antitrust regulation to innovative business practices by examining the regulation of airline computer reservations systems.  Part III reviews and expands upon the arguments for repeal That I first made in my article, Why Not Abolish Antitrust?, which was published in 1983. Part Four considers what might be done to move us, if not all the way to repeal, then at least toward a more rational regulatory policy.