AUWCL Hosts Conference on Themes of Professor Jonathan Baker’s New Book, The Antitrust Paradigm: Restoring a Competitive Economy

Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joseph Simons Delivers Keynote Address

Professor Jonathan B. Baker discusses his new book, The Antitrust Paradigm: Restoring a Competitive Economy.
Professor Jonathan B. Baker discusses his new book, The Antitrust Paradigm: Restoring a Competitive Economy.

On Friday, March 8, American University Washington College of Law welcomed leading antitrust academics and practitioners to discuss the themes presented in Professor Jonathan B. Baker’s forthcoming book, The Antitrust Paradigm: Restoring a Competitive Economy.

“This event epitomizes what WCL wants to stand for, and does stand for, which is to be a community that bring new lawyers and emerging lawyers together with practitioners, theorists, and scholars who are making real impacts and a real difference in the world through law,” said Vice Dean Susan Carle during her welcoming remarks.

Baker, a former director of the Bureau of Economics at the Federal Trade Commission, specializes in the areas of antitrust and economic regulation. In The Antitrust Paradigm, he shows how business practices harming competition manage to go unchecked, how the law has fallen behind technology, and how, since the Reagan years, the U.S. Supreme Court has eroded the protections of antitrust – ultimately advocating for a middle path between laissez-faire and thoroughgoing regulation by strengthening the antitrust laws and antitrust enforcement.

“Growing market power is worrisome because it harms the economy--not just in the individual markets that are affected, but overall. It slows economic growth and increases economic inequality,” Baker said. “It’s also worrisome because it means that antitrust isn’t working the way it should be. That’s today’s antitrust paradox: We have substantial and growing market power, notwithstanding our extensive antitrust institutions.”

The event included three panel discussions that revolved around the themes of market power paroxysm and the antitrust paradigm; antitrust rules and the information economy; and looking ahead at the future of antitrust law.

Joseph Simons, chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, delivered the keynote address.

“The Commission is holding a series of hearings on competition and consumer protection that are intended to help refresh, or restore, a bi-partisan consensus on the proper scope of antitrust enforcement and the direction of antitrust policy,” Simons said. “We consulted [The Antitrust Paradigm manuscript] extensively, specifically in preparation for the hearings. As you read Jon’s book, I think you will see his influence shows up in a number of our hearings. Regardless of how you interpret the evidence Jon relies on, he has done a substantial benefit to us all by compiling those arguments and this evidence.”

The program was presented by the Office of the Dean, the Business Law Program, and the Program on Law and Government.