Was the Marketplace of Ideas “Politically Hijacked”? Yes!

Rolling back antitrust was part of rolling back the New Deal and other progressive measures adopted even before the New Deal, antitrust trumpeted by Republican Teddy Roosevelt, for one.

In a seminal 1979 essay on what he termed the “political content” of antitrust, former FTC chairman Robert Pitofsky argued that “political values,” such as “the fear that excessive concentration of economic power will foster anti-democratic political pressures,” should be incorporated into antitrust enforcement. In recent years, this view has been echoed by a growing number of antitrust scholars, who argue that the way antitrust enforcement has been conducted in the US for the past 40 years—solely through the prism of “consumer welfare”—is ill equipped to deal with the new threats posed by digital platforms.
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The blame for the outsize influence that Facebook and other digital platforms have over the political discourse, said Lynn, rests squarely on the shoulders of the antitrust community: “For 200 years in this country, antimonopoly was designed to create freedom from masters. In 1981, when we got rid of our traditional antimonopoly and replaced it with consumer welfare, we created a system that has given freedom to master.”

Killing antitrust was to benefit the plutocracy at the negative expense of everything else. Antitrust was a half-measure to begin with, just like unionism. We should have full economic democracy rather than bringing back antitrust and reinvigorating labor unions.

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  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
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