ANTITRUST, REGULATION, AND THE FIELD OF POLICY CHOICE
Under a developmental approach to antitrust and regulation, the proper test of economic policy would not be whether it perpetuates a particular (atomistic, fragmented) market structure, or even whether it immediately advances consumer prosperity, but whether it contributes to the achievement of an acceptable long-term balance among the wage-price-profit terms of the growth system. The main postwar approaches may have suited the circumstances of their respective decades of ascendancy. But a reflex regard today for small producers or consumer satisfaction could actually harm American growth prospects in the 1990s.
American industry seems stuck at a kind of dead-center point in the evolution of the international virtuous cycle--the very cycle on which the architects of the postwar global order pinned their hopes for future growth. International growth has slowed1 even as creeping protectionism has chilled the process of international trade.2
The architects of the postwar order knew that the open international trading system fostered by the GATT would work only if all participants sold to, as well as bought from, one another. In the long run, trade balances must be maintained if the growth potential of international commerce is to be realized.3 For years now, Americans have been buying plenty (albeit with borrowed money). But they have not been selling nearly enough abroad--partly because of foreigners' trade barriers, but partly too because of foreigners' doubts about the quality of American products.4
The United States, having exchanged a once-powerful creditor position for