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Antitrust’s New Mission: Preserving Democracy, Not Efficiency

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By Mitch Phillips Reuters Posted July 25, 2021 7:56 pm Smaller font Descrease article font size -A Larger font Increase article font size A+

Amazon.com Inc.’s proposed acquisition of film studio MGM would ordinarily provoke little antitrust concern. MGM’s share of box office receipts is tiny and Amazon’s entertainment footprint is relatively small.

But Amazon of course does much more than make movies: it is the country’s largest e-commerce and cloud-computing company, and a dominant seller of books, videos and music. Founder and Executive Chairman Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post. In their totality, then, Amazon and Mr. Bezos represent a significant concentration of economic and cultural influence. For a new generation of trustbusters, that’s a bigger concern than the efficiency benefits a merger might bring.

“There is sound reason to ask whether permitting Amazon to leverage its platform to integrate across business lines hands it undue economic and political power,” then law student Lina Khan wrote in a now famous law journal article in 2017.

Last month, President Biden named the 32-year-old Ms. Khan chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission. At a confirmation hearing in April, she said antitrust’s historical role is to “protect our economy and our democracy from unchecked monopoly power.”

Ms. Khan embodies the neo-Brandeisian movement, named for Louis Brandeis, a crusading lawyer and later Supreme Court justice who argued antitrust should not just preserve competition but constrain bigness for its own sake. “Size, we are told, is not a crime,” he wrote in 1914. “But size may, at least, become noxious by reason of the means through which it was attained or the uses to which it is put.”

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Maggie MacNeil wins Canada’s first gold medal at Tokyo Olympics in 100m butterfly

The silver medal went to China's Zhang Yufei and the bronze to Australia's Emma McKeon. 

Alberta family cheers as Olympian who recovered from childhood brain injury heads to rowing finals

Support is rolling in for a 32-year-old Alberta rower who advanced to the Olympic finals this weekend and overcame serious injuries that included two...

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By Mitch Phillips Reuters Posted July 25, 2021 7:56 pm Smaller font Descrease article font size -A Larger font Increase article font size A+