The Antitrust Laws of the United States of America: A Study of Competition Enforced by Law

By A. D. Neale | Go to book overview

FOREWORD

The institution of antitrust in the United States has long been regarded as peculiarly a native product, like our popular music. Strangers to our culture, exposed to the gyrations and massive impact of antitrust, have generally responded with bewilderment and disbelief. At most, they have dimly perceived the shape and power of antitrust. They have seen it as a remarkable compound of law, economic philosophy, cultural commitment and social religion. But the mechanics and the dynamics of this peculiar institution have been largely beyond the ken of the foreigner.

A. D. Neale, a British civil servant, is the exception to this generality. He has mastered the strange language of this peculiar American institution, and he has penetrated to the heart of its meaning. His purpose in studying American antitrust was to write an account of its actual working for the benefit of British businessmen and lawyers, but his accomplishment surpasses this objective. He has set down a solid analysis and a highly perceptive evaluation of American antitrust from which Americans themselves will derive much profit.

I know of no other single volume which covers the entire field of antitrust so comprehensively and so well. In about 500 pages, Mr Neale sharply analyses the case law and the statutes in each area of antitrust. He has an instinct for the jugular of a case. He senses the difference between a ripple and a current in the vast stream of the law, and he is able, with remarkable sensitivity, to trace the particulars of antitrust development to their abiding source: to America's 'distrust of all sources of unchecked power'; to our ambivalent attitude towards 'big business', which he aptly sums up as our 'romantic view of the achievements and efficiency of large industrial organizations', coupled with our 'suspicious view of their power'.

Antitrust in the United States is not, in the conventional sense, a set of laws by which men may guide their conduct. It is rather a general, sometimes conflicting, statement of articles of faith and economic philosophy, which takes specific form as the courts and governmental agencies apply its generalities to the facts of individual cases in the economic and ideological setting of the time. It is for this reason that both knowledge of past decisions and a sense of the animating theory of

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