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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 133 of UCLA economist William Allen’s 1989 collection of the transcripts of his marvelous radio addresses, The Midnight Economist; specifically, it’s from Allen’s October 1987 radio address entitled “Antitrust: Mythology and Methodology” (original emphasis):

The antitrust crusaders of the 1880s professed to be protecting consumers from deprivation and gouging.  But the actual record does not support the demagogic ridicule of alleged monopolies.  Output of the notorious industries – including coal, lead, petroleum, steel, sugar, and zinc – was increasing much more rapidly than the economy generally, and their prices were falling more rapidly than the overall price index.

(Prof. Allen’s account accords with the detailed information contained in Tom DiLorenzo’s important 1985 article, “The Origins of Antitrust.”*  [See also this 1992 article by Gary Libecap and this 1993 article that I wrote with Tom D.])

Bottom line: Antitrust legislation was meant to stymie, not to promote, competition.  It was an early, populist-era exercise in cronyism.


* On page 81 of Tom’s article a typo resulted in a misspelling of the quoted Senator’s name.  It’s not Senator “Edwards”; it’s Senator George F. Edmonds (R-VT) – who is one of the major authors of the Sherman Antitrust Act.


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