Free the Market!: Why Only Government Can Keep the Marketplace Competitive

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Penguin, 2009 - Business & Economics - 416 pages
4 Reviews
Why we need government intervention in the free market to protect competition and encourage innovation
 
Starting about thirty years ago, conservatives forced an overhaul of competition policy that has loosened business rules for everything from selling products to buying competitors.
 
Gary Reback thinks the changes have gone too far. Today's competition policies, he argues, were made for the old manufacturing economy of the 1970s. But in a high-tech world, these policies actually slow innovation, hurt consumers, and entrench big companies at the expense of entrepreneurs.
 
Free the Market! is both a memoir of Reback's titanic legal battles—involving top companies such as Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, and AT&T—and a persuasive argument for measured government intervention in the free market to foster competition. Among the fascinating questions he considers:
  • Can a company ever compete too hard for the public good?
  • Should policy makers worry more about promoting competition or improving efficiency?
  • Does it help consumers when a manufacturer sets the prices its retailers charge?
  • Should the government do more to stop controversial mergers?
  • At what point does intellectual property protection hurt innovation?
  

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - rivkat - LibraryThing

This isn’t the most engaging general-interest book on why you should care about antitrust law; that honor belongs to Kurt Eichenwald’s The Informant, which is essentially a true crime yarn focused on ... Read full review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Gary Reback has written a book that reads like an extended love letter to antitrust law. In his world, antitrust seemingly has no costs, no downsides, no trade-offs. It is our salvation and he serves as its high prophet. Everything good that happened in the world of high-tech over the past few decades? Oh, you can thank Almighty Antitrust for that. Anything bad that happened? Well, then, clearly there just wasn't enough antitrust enforcement! That's this book in a nutshell.
There's no mention of the deadweight loss to society associated with years and years of legal wrangling that accompanies antitrust lawsuits. Reback just sweeps all that under the rug -- and why wouldn't he as an antitrust lawyer! But those costs on the economy and innovation are real. There's also no serious mention of how antitrust law has all too often been used as weapon by disgruntled marketplace competitors to hobble rivals using such legal tactics. Reback gives the same lip service to antitrust being about "protecting consumers" as many other defenders do, but all too often his book -- like antitrust law itself -- sounds more like a defense of certain companies, industry sectors, or old ways of doing business.
It sure would have been nice for him to address the other side of the story in a serious way.
You can read my complete review of the book at the Technology Liberation Front blog: http://techliberation.com/2009/09/20/gary-rebacks-antitrust-love-letter
 

Contents

Introduction
1
PROTECTING COMPETITION
7
Beyond the Robber Barons
9
Chicago Comes to Washington
33
PRODUCT DISTRIBUTION
49
Thinking Different
51
The Price Is Not Right
73
PATENT AND COPYRIGHT ON COMPETITION
91
The Bigger Picture
172
The Ties That Bind
186
Trial of the Century
207
The Right Remedy
229
MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS
253
Storytelling for Lawyers
255
Monopolizing the Law
271
A Hostage Taking
285

The Eagle Dared
93
The Allure of the Lotus
107
Trial by Ordeal
121
The Shakedown
139
MONOPOLIES AND MARKET EXCLUSION
155
The Empire Extended
157
The Oracle of Antitrust
302
The Smackdown
323
The Last Mile
342
Conclusion
366
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Gary L. Reback is one of the nationÂ's most prominent antitrust attorneys, best known for spearheading the efforts that led to the federal lawsuit against Microsoft. He has been named one of the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America by the National Law Journal and is quoted regularly by major media. He is currently of counsel with Carr & Ferrell LLP.

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