U.S. public economic law as currently framed equips us to deal with certain of these challenges, but inhibits responses to others.
There will be cases in which small business remains better than big--in which selective support of small producers and independent traders may promote economic growth. With respect to these cases, hurrah for neopopulism! During the 1980s, for example, small corporations accounted for a disproportionately high percentage of all new job creation. Firms of this description have traditionally been the incubators of technological innovations. Americans look to upstart entrepreneurial firms, not to the industrial giants, for the imaginative leaps in computer software and biotechnology which will be needed to spur future economic growth.32
There will also be cases where big is better than small. Neopopulist doctrines should not be permitted to obstruct industrial restructuring when size can be shown to be a potential contributor to efficiency, and hence to improved U.S. competitiveness. In cases of this kind, cheers to neoclassicism!
But in all likelihood, there will also occur cases that simply do not fit either the neopopulist or the neoclassical model. Surely there will be cases where the nation's capital markets, for whatever reason, will not allocate capital in needed amounts to businesses that are affected with a public interest. In such cases, the executors of economic law should be able to encourage the kinds of resource transfers that neopopulism might instead direct to the wrong firms (i.e., to inefficiently small ones) and that Chicago School antitrust or marginal regulatory pricing would prevent altogether.
It is for such cases that policymakers need a unified doctrine of antitrust and rate regulation. And if they are to serve those essentially legislative considerations that are at the base of all wise applications of law,33 it is for such cases that policymakers also need a theory of policy pricing.