A New Course for Antitrust
On May 11, Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney announced plans to restore an aggressive enforcement policy against corporations that engage in anti-competitive behavior. Specifically, the Justice Department was revoking legal guidelines that were adopted in September 2008 that made it more difficult to pursue antitrust cases. "The recent developments in the marketplace should make it clear that we can no longer rely upon the marketplace alone to ensure that competition and consumers will be protected," explained the new head of the Antitrust Division. This policy reversal could be a shot across the bow of the tech industry, with Google and Intel now fearing the sort of legal action that plagued Microsoft in the 1990s. But should the government be going after profitable companies during weak economic times? What makes a merger anti-competitive or a business action monopolistic? How much does antitrust enforcement ultimately benefit the consumer? Please join us for an exploration of these and other issues that lie at the intersection of legal and economic theory and practice.