… is from page 130 of the late Columbia University economist Donald Dewey’s remarks offered during a discussion of William Baxter’s 1979 paper “The Political Economy of Antitrust,” as these remarks are recorded in The Political Economy of Antitrust: Principal Paper by William Baxter (Robert D. Tollison, Ed., 1980):
Over the years I have come to the conclusion that there is no sound case grounded in economic welfare for antitrust. Here, I’d take a stand with [Yale] Brozen and say that antitrust comes at a cost. I’m not sure, but I’m beginning to think that the costs are fairly high, perhaps even higher than Brozen indicates….
I also happen to feel, from reading the history of antitrust, that the desire to maximize welfare, or merely to increase economic welfare, has been a very minor goal of the policy.
DBx: Yes. Antitrust is a well-disguised tool for domestic protectionism and, more generally, for the dispensing of political favors.
The notion that market competition requires for its maintenance the oversight and intervention of government officials makes as much sense as does the notion that the honor of chaste young women requires for its maintenance the oversight and intervention of pimps.