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An inquiry into the causes for the multiple goals of the United States Antitrust Law from a historical perspective

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It is not the case as Robert Bork claims that the U. S. antitrust law had only one goal—maximization of consumer welfare of efficiency—at the very beginning and should have been kept that way for its later development. Partly because of the fighting among different interest groups as well as spokesmen of different regions at the 51st Congress, the Sherman Antitrust Act came out as a legislation with multiple goals, which were also taking shape under the influence of the Republican idea of balance of power, the liberal belief in property rights, the freedom of contract of classic economics, and the price theory of neoclassic economics. In more than a hundred years after that, the U.S. antitrust law has shifted the center of its goals as a result of the change of regulatory regimes with different emphases such as market function, economic stabilization, social concern, and economic efficiency during different periods. From a historical perspective, it is beyond dispute that the U.S. antitrust law has had multiple goals instead of only one.


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