For half a century, or so, the consumer welfare paradigm, as outlined, with some approx-imation, by Robert Bork, has been leading in the antitrust field. It emerged as a reaction (populist, albeit in academic guise) to the enthusiasms and excesses of a populism of op-posite vein, which from the beginning saw in the anti-monopoly discipline an instrument to fight against the economic and political power of the “robber barons”, as such open to further social solicitations: to the point of making the overall picture confused and, at times, contradictory. The ‘new learning’ would have derived scientific validation from the rigorous use of microeconomic approach, redesigning the entire scenario of the US com-petitive enforcement. Even when the precepts of the Chicago School were questioned and revisited, the core of that line of thought, captured by the magic formula of consumer wel-fare, withstood the impact and continued to dominate the scene. Europe, for a long time immunized by the prevalence of ordo-liberal thought, has in turn been forced to deal with a ‘more economic approach’, never really fully absorbed, but certainly closer to the idea that the enforcemnent of antitrust regulations should be modulated after the effects rather than formal prohibitions. However, something has collapsed in recent times. The lone star of allocative efficiency, which was intended to coincide with the criterion of consumer welfare, had to be measured against the growing discomfort of a social fabric in deep cri-sis. And the demand for justice (including economic equity) has become more pressing and distressing. Beyond irretrievably reductive positions, it can reasonably be agreed that the contribution of microeconomic analysis has been and still keeps being precious for the development of a modern and composite antitrust, but it cannot give all the answers (even if it marks the limits of those that can be received). On these assumptions, the rediscovery of the unavoidably political dimension of competition law does not complicate the picture; on the contrary, it defines the stage (and, paradoxically, simplifies it). Therefore, options stay open: but always internal to antitrust (and its logic), in the context of what it is dele-gated to do.

Tutto (o quasi) quel che avreste voluto sapere sul principio del consumer welfare in diritto antitrust / Pardolesi, Roberto. - In: ORIZZONTI DEL DIRITTO COMMERCIALE. - ISSN 2282-667X. - Fascicolo speciale(2021), pp. 315-336.

Tutto (o quasi) quel che avreste voluto sapere sul principio del consumer welfare in diritto antitrust

Pardolesi Roberto
2021

Abstract

For half a century, or so, the consumer welfare paradigm, as outlined, with some approx-imation, by Robert Bork, has been leading in the antitrust field. It emerged as a reaction (populist, albeit in academic guise) to the enthusiasms and excesses of a populism of op-posite vein, which from the beginning saw in the anti-monopoly discipline an instrument to fight against the economic and political power of the “robber barons”, as such open to further social solicitations: to the point of making the overall picture confused and, at times, contradictory. The ‘new learning’ would have derived scientific validation from the rigorous use of microeconomic approach, redesigning the entire scenario of the US com-petitive enforcement. Even when the precepts of the Chicago School were questioned and revisited, the core of that line of thought, captured by the magic formula of consumer wel-fare, withstood the impact and continued to dominate the scene. Europe, for a long time immunized by the prevalence of ordo-liberal thought, has in turn been forced to deal with a ‘more economic approach’, never really fully absorbed, but certainly closer to the idea that the enforcemnent of antitrust regulations should be modulated after the effects rather than formal prohibitions. However, something has collapsed in recent times. The lone star of allocative efficiency, which was intended to coincide with the criterion of consumer welfare, had to be measured against the growing discomfort of a social fabric in deep cri-sis. And the demand for justice (including economic equity) has become more pressing and distressing. Beyond irretrievably reductive positions, it can reasonably be agreed that the contribution of microeconomic analysis has been and still keeps being precious for the development of a modern and composite antitrust, but it cannot give all the answers (even if it marks the limits of those that can be received). On these assumptions, the rediscovery of the unavoidably political dimension of competition law does not complicate the picture; on the contrary, it defines the stage (and, paradoxically, simplifies it). Therefore, options stay open: but always internal to antitrust (and its logic), in the context of what it is dele-gated to do.
Antitrust; consumer welfare; allocative efficiency; Chicago School of antitrust; ordolib-eralism; more economic approach; hipster antitrust; equity
Tutto (o quasi) quel che avreste voluto sapere sul principio del consumer welfare in diritto antitrust / Pardolesi, Roberto. - In: ORIZZONTI DEL DIRITTO COMMERCIALE. - ISSN 2282-667X. - Fascicolo speciale(2021), pp. 315-336.
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