Relaxing whilst doing Competition Law is not an Oxymoron

Antitrust Story

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Like theft, monopoly pricing does not necessarily harm total welfare, but injures consumer welfare.

Depending on where you stand on the total v. consumer welfare equation, this may influence your social tolerance to theft.

A good illustration of this can be found in a story about William Baxter, a former Professor at Stanford Law School. Baxter  also served from 1981 to 1983 as Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust  Division of the DoJ:

While strolling one evening on a quiet street near the Washington residence, Bill and his wife Carol were confronted by an armed robber; they emerged minus some personal property but without injury. At the next Antitrust Division holiday party, the incident became a skit in which the robber demanded Bill’s watch. When Bill resists, the robber points out that it would be only a wealth transfer – a mere redistribution that would not affect economic efficiency or total social welfare. Reassured that the robber shares his standards of economic analysis and acknowledging that the point is analytically correct, Bill immediately surrenders his watch”.

Source can be found here. Found in reading Ben Van Rompuy’s doctoral dissertation (VUB, Belgium).

Written by Nicolas Petit

4 October 2011 at 12:28 am

Posted in Jokes, Uncategorized

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