Do Antitrust Laws Limit U.S. Competitiveness?

July 7, 1989

Report Outline
Special Focus

Introduction

For a hundred years Congress has prohibited American businesses from creating monopolies, fixing prices or otherwise restraining trade. Now, critics say that antitrust laws must be amended or even revoked if U.S. businesses are to compete in world markets. Antitrust supporters, however, say such talk is only a ruse to disguise longstanding objections to antitrust restrictions. They say consumers continue to have far more to lose than to gain from any change.

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Overview

The Sherman Antitrust Act is approaching its 100th birthday,and America's antitrust laws are under attack. Antitrust laws obstruct rather than encourage competition, critics charge, and with the chronic U.S. trade deficits of the 1980s, the laws are a handicap American companies can ill afford.

“The time has come for us to realistically look at the antitrust laws and try to mold them to our favor and not to the interests of foreigners, [who] have no such restrictions,” wrote then-Commerce Secretary C. William Verity Jr. in The Wall Street Journal last December. In an unusual double-barreled blast at the statutes, Verity and Attorney General Dick Thornburgh in adjacent articles called for relaxation of antitrust laws to allow U.S. manufacturers to undertake joint production efforts without having to worry about lawsuits from competitors or consumers.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Antitrust
Jun. 12, 1998  Antitrust Policy
Jul. 07, 1989  Do Antitrust Laws Limit U.S. Competitiveness?
Jan. 15, 1982  Business Mergers and Antitrust
Jan. 31, 1975  Antitrust Action
May 25, 1966  Business Concentration and Antitrust Laws
Feb. 19, 1947  Enforcement of the Antitrust Laws
Dec. 19, 1938  Anti-Trust Enforcement Through Consent Decrees
Nov. 24, 1930  Revision of the Antitrust Laws
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Antitrust and Monopolies
Antitrust and Monopolies