Safeguarding the Benefits of Competition
Competition is a good thing. As the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) notes, “[f]ree and open markets are the foundation of a vibrant economy. Aggressive competition among sellers in an open marketplace gives consumers—both individuals and businesses—the benefits of lower prices, higher quality products and services, more choices, and greater innovation.” Thus, the FTC concludes, the FTC’s “competition mission is to enforce the rules of the competitive marketplace—the antitrust laws.” FTC, Guide to Antitrust Laws. These antitrust laws have been introduced to protect consumers from a host of anticompetitive abuses, among them price-fixing and collusion.
The United States is not alone in recognizing the importance of competition. According to analysis conducted by the authors, in 2014 more than 95 percent of world gross domestic product was produced in the more than 100 countries that had antitrust laws, compared with just 63 percent in the 37 countries with such laws in 1990.