To conclude our symposium on Root & Branch Reconstruction in Antitrust, this post offers a glimpse into an alternative universe where horizontal coordination among small players is embraced as a social good.
While a properly designed association of contract workers could pass muster under current Sherman Act antitrust jurisprudence, any such association will face serious practical impediments.
In the fight to regulate the gig economy, unions, workers, and their allies have only fought half the battle: they have tried to defend the definition of employment against technology-enabled erosion. Antitrust prohibitions against vertical restraints, which prevent firms from exercising control in the absence of an employment relationship, offer a complementary strategy to address the threat posed to workers by the gig economy.
Over the past four decades, a tidal wave of corporate mergers has resulted in industry concentration, higher prices, and reduced productive capacity. The U.S. wireless industry in the 2010s offers a case study of the public benefits of strong anti-merger law.
Given the shortcomings of the prevailing antitrust framework, a growing chorus of voices is calling for a ground-up reconstruction of competition law and policy. But what would that look like? This symposium offers an affirmative vision of the new antitrust.