Revitalizing Antitrust in Its Second Century: Essays on Legal, Economic, and Political Policy

By Harry First; Eleanor M. Fox et al. | Go to book overview

tilting, an example of pursuing cases based on poor economics and law. In retrospect, I believe our economy would have been better served had McLaren succeeded in putting a brake on large conglomerate mergers. This is not to imply that had McLaren's effort succeeded, it would have solved the conglomerate merger problem. Even the Warren Court probably would not have stopped such seemingly pure conglomerates as U.S. Steel-Marathon. The antitrust laws cannot, and should not, be stretched to deal with problems not directly related to the competitive functioning of markets. However, economic history could well have unfolded differently had McLaren been permitted the freedom enjoyed by Thurman Arnold from 1938 through 1941. 22

Professor First is correct. Antitrust laws and their enforcement will continue to play a crucial role in domestic and international markets. Those arguing that these laws have become obsolete and require drastic changes, if not outright repeal, are reminiscent of the critics of the 1930s who insisted modern economies required the sort of planning promised by the National Industrial Recovery Act, which effectively repealed the antitrust laws. The only difference is that today's critics align to the right rather than the left of the political spectrum.


NOTES
1.
See First, Modifying Antitrust to Meet International Competition: The Case of Semiconductors, chapter 21 in this volume, at pp. 382-403.
2.
Id. at p. 390.
3.
See, e.g., id. at p. 393.
4.
Surv. Current Bus., Jan. 1987, at S-17 (value of exports of motor vehicles and parts from January 1986 to end of November 1986 was $20.3 billion; value of imports for same period was $61.3 billion).
5.
See The Fortune Double 500 Directory ( 1978) (providing 1977 sales figures for top three U.S. automobile producers: General Motors ($55 billion), Ford ($37.8 billion), and Chrysler ($16.7 billion)).
6.
Fortune World Business Directory ( 1978) (excluding U.S. firms' foreign operations' sales, top 30 foreign producers had 1977 sales totaling $95.6 billion).
7.
Compare The Fortune Double 500 Directory ( 1978) (GM sales were $55 billion) with Fortune World Business Directory ( 1978) (combined sales of top 11 Japanese producers were $29 billion).
8.
Compare The Fortune Double 500 Directory ( 1978) ( Chrysler sales were $16.7 billion) with Fortune World Business Directory ( 1978) ( Toyota sales were $9.6 billion).
9.
It should be noted that the automobile industry's problems were exacerbated by an overvalued dollar.
10.
"U.S. Steel to the Rescue", Newsweek, Nov. 30, 1981, at 79.
11.
See Wayne, "Big Steel's Puzzling Strategy", N.Y. Times, July 10, 1983, § 3, at 1.
12.
See id.; see also "Clash of the Titans", Time, Dec. 21, 1981, at 61 (reporting that critics of merger argued that U.S. Steel should spend its money on updating uncompetitive steel plants).

-446-

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