Busting antitrust myths about Amazon, Google and Facebook

The Orange County Register - Can a business become too successful? Can it serve its customers too well? It can, if you are a government economist or bureaucrat — or a less efficient rival with political connections.

In an article I co-authored a number of years ago for the American Institute for Economic Research with Benjamin Powell, now economics professor and director of the Free Market Institute at Texas Tech University, we noted how notions of "monopoly" and "antitrust" can mean whatever government regulators want them to mean. "In antitrust law, there is no way for a firm to know if it is breaking the law before it hears the judge's verdict," we observed. "If a firm's prices are higher than everyone else's, that implies monopoly power; if other firms' prices are the same, it implies collusion; if prices are too low, this signifies cutthroat competition and predatory pricing. Each one of the above scenarios can be prosecuted under antitrust laws." Moreover, pretty much anything can be deemed a monopoly, depending on how narrowly you define the market.

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