Table of Contents

The Goals of Competition Law

The Goals of Competition Law

ASCOLA Competition Law series

Edited by Daniel Zimmer

What are the normative foundations of competition law? That is the question at the heart of this book. Leading scholars consider whether this branch of law serves just one or more than one goal, and, if it serves to protect unfettered competition as such, how this goal relates to other objectives such as the promotion of economic welfare.

Chapter 5: The Goals of European Competition Law: Some Distortions in the Literature – Comment on Parret

David J. Gerber

Subjects: economics and finance, law and economics, law - academic, competition and antitrust law, law and economics


David J Gerber This comment highlights three issues that often cloud and sometimes distort contemporary discussions of the goals of competition law, especially in Europe. Reading the chapter by Laura Parret highlighted these issues for me. Her chapter at least recognizes some of the ‘black boxes’ in current thinking about the goals of European competition law, and it is in that sense valuable. My discussion will treat the larger themes that these discussions present and relate the chapter to them where appropriate. My objective is to identify aspects of the literature that seem to me to call for sharper analysis and to suggest ways of reducing or eliminating their potentially distorting effects on current thinking about the goals of European competition law. 1 THE TIME FACTOR: RELATING THE TEMPORAL ELEMENTS One prominent and fundamental issue involves the treatment of time. In discussions of European competition law goals, time is often treated in ways that interfere with effective discussion of the issues facing competition law today. Some commentators treat historical context as largely irrelevant. Others treat it somewhat clumsily, either because they operate with misconceptions of the past or because they fail to relate the past to the present in ways that are useful to the current discussion. 1.1 Ignoring Time In recent years, discussions of European competition law goals have often paid little, if any, attention to the time factor. Those who believe that economics provides – or should provide – the goals of competition 85 M2863 - ZIMMER TEXT.indd 85 27/01/2012...

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