Federal Antitrust Policy during the Kennedy-Johnson Years

By James R. Williamson | Go to book overview

Appendix B: Report of the White House Task Force on Antitrust Policy

Summary

1. We recommend specific legislation on the subject of oligopolies, or highly concentrated industries.

The purpose of such legislation would be to give enforcement authorities and courts a clear mandate to use established techniques of divestiture to reduce concentration in industries where monopoly power is shared by a few very large firms. Up to now such measures have been employed only in the rare instances where the monopolistic structure of an industry takes the form of a single firm with an overwhelming share of the market. Specific legislation dealing with entrenched oligopolies would rectify the most important deficiency in the present antitrust laws.

Effective antitrust laws must bring about both competitive behavior and competitive industry structure. In the long run, competitive structure is the more important since it creates conditions conducive to competitive behavior. Competitive structure and behavior are both essential to the basic concern of the antitrust laws--preservation of the self-regulating mechanism of the market, free from the restraints of private monopoly power on the one hand and government intervention or regulation on the other. In one important respect, the antitrust laws recognize the necessity for competitive market structures; the 1950 amendment to Section 7 of the Clayton Act has effectively prevented many kinds of mergers which would bring about less competitive market structures. Our proposed remedy,

____________________
Note: Portions not pertinent to this study have been omitted.

Source: U.S. Congress, Senate, Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Antitrust and Monopoly, Economic Concentration, Hearings before the Subcommittee on Antitrust and Monopoly, 91st Cong., 2nd sess., 1970 ( Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1970), 5054-82.

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