LPE Originals

The Functional Logic of Antitrust: Oligarchy vs. Democracy

The reinterpretation of antitrust in terms of "consumer welfare" has not resulted in bountiful consumer welfare, but oligarchy unleashed. But, as I wrote in the Journal of Law and Political Economy, antitrust can be a force for fairness and democracy again. A reimagined antitrust law that restricts consolidation of business assets and permits certain forms of coordination among small actors would limit domination and disperse power.

LPE Originals

The Case for Universal Labor and Employment Rights

This week we’re featuring two discussions of Anne Alstott & Ganesh Sitaraman’s The Public Option: Working people in the United States are fragmented by race, gender, ethnicity, religion, and status. We are also stratified by the law itself—specifically the extent to which we are entitled to labor and employment rights. Some workers have the right…

LPE Originals

Killing Antitrust Softly (Through Procedure)

The Supreme Court has waged a multi-decade war on private rights of action. It has subverted the rights of consumers, workers, small businesses, and others to hold corporations accountable for wrongdoing through lawsuits. The Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) has been a preferred tool of the Court. Since the 1980s, it has reinvented this modest statute,…

LPE Originals

The Erosion of Public Control Over Public Utilities

Since the 1970s, Congress and federal agencies have replaced regulator-established rates with market-derived pricing in many sectors of the U.S. economy. Electricity and natural gas are two such industries. Congress and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) have abolished regulated rates and instituted market-based pricing in a part of the electricity and gas supply chains.…

LPE Originals

The Uneasy Case Against Occupational Licensing (Part 2)

Successful ideological entrepreneurs change policy-makers’ focus and their presumptions. Those on the right, in particular, have been very effective at shifting attention from core confrontations of capital and labor to peripheral conflicts among laborers. We see this repeatedly in inequality policy, where fundamental tensions between capital and labor are ignored, obfuscated, or trivialized by a…