Unlike other textbooks of competition policy, this book attaches greatest importance to the interests and resources of core actors, as well as their power relationships. The underlying idea is that the policy output of competition law could better be described as the result of highly politicised processes, rather than solely the result of legal/economic considerations. By the same token, it is necessary to take account of domestic political factors in addition to the international economic/political factors in order to understand the recent phenomenon of the international convergence of competition law.
The previous chapters have shown that policy output was largely consistent with the power relationship between core actors in all of the four cases under examination. The metaphor of a 'network' seems to successfully conceptualise multiple inter-actor relations. After all, competition policy often leads to a more complicated decision-making process than other policies, due to the dualism of competition policy and industrial policy in government. Competition policy and industrial policy do not necessarily contradict each other, but their relationship is often critical, as shown in the above case studies.
To conclude the study, this chapter first highlights the characteristics of four competition policy networks (in Britain and Japan, in the 1970s and the 1990s) that have been discussed above. Referring to some very recent changes, the final section supplies some implications for the future development of British and Japanese competition policy.
In terms of actor interests, the British competition policy network was not very cohesive in the 1970s. In particular, there was a large gap between business interests and government politicians, whether Labour or Conservative, as discussed in Chapter 3.
With regard to restrictive trade practices, British companies had on the whole reduced their involvement already by the 1960s. It is true that the British economy had been full of restrictive trade practices until the early 1950s, but such practices had become less and less popular. More and more foreign competitors entered the national market following trade liberalisation, and