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 8: On the Normative Foundations of Competition Law – Efficiency, Political Freedom and the Freedom to Compete

Frank Maier-Rigaud

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


Frank Maier-Rigaud* In every society conflicts of interest among members of that society must be solved. The process by which that resolution (not elimination!) occurs is known as competition. Since, by definition, there is no way to eliminate competition, the relevant question is what kind of competition shall be used in the resolution of conflicts of interest.† 38 1 INTRODUCTION The advent of a more economic approach to EU competition law has spurred the most substantial debate on the normative justifications of competition law in recent history. Nevertheless, and despite limited literature to the contrary, these are not times of fundamental debate concerning the ultimate aims of competition policy. This is evidenced by the limited practical importance of the normative foundations of competition law in * Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn, Germany; Competition Division, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Paris, France. This chapter has benefited from comments and remarks received from participants during the 5th Academic Society for Competition Law (ASCOLA) Conference on the Goals of Competition Law, in Bonn, Germany from 27–29 May 2010. I would like to thank in particular Michael Adam, Rainer Becker, Anca Chiriţă, Julia Fischer, Volker Hallwirth, Liza Lovdahl-Gormsen, Gerhard Maier-Rigaud, Remi Maier-Rigaud, Kay Parplies, Wulf-Henning Roth, Christian Vollrath, Carl Christian von Weizsäcker, Thilo Wienke, Wouter Wils and Andrea Heiny of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology and the Max Planck Library Team for discussions and comments on earlier versions and for help in assembling the...

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