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Breaking the Chain.
November 2, 2006 6:55 AM   Subscribe

Breaking the Chain: The antitrust case against Wal-Mart. Barry C. Lynn argues Wal-Mart is a monopsony, and should be dealt with the same way A&P and Standard Oil were many years ago.
posted by chunking express (32 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Not to be confused with Barry W. Lynn.
posted by gurple at 7:34 AM on November 2, 2006


An interesting sidenote: The Robinson-Patman Act was colloquially known as the "Anti-A&P Act," designed to target A&P's price discrimination. Now, however, many antitrust experts, including Herbert Hovenkamp, have suggested that Robinson-Patman be repealed, and the issue is being debated seriously by the Antitrust Modernization Commission.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:51 AM on November 2, 2006


I thought low prices were good for consumers?
posted by caddis at 7:52 AM on November 2, 2006


!

Screw you, Barry. You can buy your fruit at the Farmers' Market if you want, but you better not be messing wit' my Walmart.
posted by The Confessor at 8:14 AM on November 2, 2006


The Confessor writes "You can buy your fruit at the Farmers' Market if you want"

Well, for now anyway.
posted by clevershark at 8:22 AM on November 2, 2006


I liked this quote from the article:
To defend Wal-Mart for its low prices is to claim that the most perfect form of economic organization more closely resembles the Soviet Union in 1950 than twentieth-century America. It is to celebrate rationalization to the point of complete irrationality.
The article is really well written I thought. I read it on the bus ride to work, and hoped it was online by now.
posted by chunking express at 8:32 AM on November 2, 2006


The idea that Wal-Mart's power actually subverts the functioning of the free market will seem shocking to some.

Oh sure, people who buy at walmart will claim you are an idiot

Antimonopoly sentiment in America dates to the nation's founding.

Uh yeah, also prostitution.Yet in a monopsony, if the buyer masses get the sensation they are getting the best at the lowest price from Walmart AND they also get low wage, one have a powerful combination of greed, second only to sex drive. Immoral ? Nah just humans, feeling they had it in the ass from The Capitalist Man for a long time (how true!) and want revenge and more and more for less and less, so of course they like Walmart.

Standard's roll-up of the oil industry cut the cost of kerosene by nearly 70 percent, and yet the justices shattered the firm into thirty-four pieces.

Which is counterintuitive and dissonant, how could a cost cut not be good for consumer ? For some reason some people think they are going to be benefitting from it sooner or later, but it just wishful thinking, most of the times. Then of course some firm start passing these benefits down and some pundits (or some dreamer) will say "see, free market works for you ! "....wow , that is some selective memory !

In a particularly audacious move, [Walmart] grabbed outright the copyright for the White Cloud line of toilet paper, after P&G unwisely forgot to protect its own brand's name.

Now that's competition, but what was the object of the conflict ? A goddamn brand. It is just a power grab that slighlty tilted the balance of power in the hands of WM. Which means the power has been moved from a product-producing company to a salesperson that produces only sales ; I have a bias for people that actually produce something, but salesperson are needed as well..problem may start when salesperson decides you don't need a new product (or a better one) cause they can't obtain the profit margin they want from that product, without damaging other lines.

Which in layman terms mean, if that toilet paper is too heavy for your ass, go pay $1 more at the next competiting shop...oh wait, there is no other similarly priced shop ? Well you can also use newspapers :) ! Or take the car, drive 30 miles goto another city.

Wal-Mart and a growing number of today's dominant firms, by contrast, are programmed to cut cost faster than price, to slow the introduction of new technologies and techniques, to dictate downward the wages and profits of the millions of people and smaller firms who make and grow what they sell, to break down entire lines of production in the name of efficiency. The effects of this change are clear: We see them in the collapsing profit margins of the firms caught in Wal-Mart's system

The primary concern is for job position and avaiability ; curiously white collars seem to forget that ONE big employer affects the whole pond, which translates in lower wages for them as well, no matter how brilliant and smart they think they are. Walmart doesn't affect only blue collar.
posted by elpapacito at 8:34 AM on November 2, 2006



The primary concern is for job position and avaiability ; curiously white collars seem to forget that ONE big employer affects the whole pond, which translates in lower wages for them as well, no matter how brilliant and smart they think they are.


I think this is one of the biggest problems americans overlook, by consistently buying only on price, we're creating main of our own economic problems, both current and future.

There's your example with lower white collar wages, there's also taxes, where when people find themselves paying higher and higher property taxes, they seem to overlook the fact that big box businesses aren't contributing their fair share (in nearly half of all states, stores such as Walmart don't need to pay income taxes due to the The geoffrey loophole).
posted by drezdn at 8:47 AM on November 2, 2006


drezdn said : Americans overlook, by consistently buying only on price

I wish it was only a local cultural problem, it's on this side of the atlantic pond as well with LIDL chain, aggressively using low price to win customer base.

The appeals by the local worker unions about LIDL shady practices with its workforce do resonate among many people and the presence of alternatives , even if not at the same prices, contain the effects.

Still the price of a generic cola is 1/4 that of a brand name cola and people are price conscious as well, can't turn that off, possibly because they spent their whole life worrying about having money to survive, so money is associated with "surviving" which is THE primary need.

My wild intuitive gut instinct, possibily wrong, is that one needs to sweep the rug under big monopsony feet by providing basics for almost free, so that people learn to no longer connect money with surviving.
posted by elpapacito at 9:00 AM on November 2, 2006


I live in the UK and do most of my food shopping at London's famous Borough Market, thus ensuring I pay very high prices for pretty much everything I consume. Am I part of the solution?
posted by rhymer at 9:27 AM on November 2, 2006


There is also the problem that Wal-Mart increases poverty.
posted by cal71 at 10:04 AM on November 2, 2006


Am I part of the solution?

You are part of a cake. No really, there isn't a one shot answer that would make sense.

Gave a quick look and it seems that the market profit is diverted to the local community, but the info is too superficial to do any assesment. To give you an idea of the difficulty of these assesments, consider the following : you want a toothpick and are willing to pay $1 for it.

I am the seller AND the producer and I have more ways to produce the toothpick ; I can for instance bring down a 200 years old tree, take a piece of if and call it toothpick. If it costs me $ 0.50 to do that, I will have a profit, you will have a toothpic, everbody wins.

Except the forest ! At a rate of a toothpic per tree, there will be no forest soon. But who the fuck cares, I got my money, you got the toothpic. Screw the forest.Similarly, one buys at Walmart something for $1, doesn't give a shit about what and why and how. Similarly Walmart, doesn't give a shit about the production method, just gimme the goods I must sell to rhymer. You both win !

Except the producers ! Yet who the fuck cares about them , it's their problem not yours nor walmart's.

Yet as the producers have technical limitations (can't invent a machine to turn one tree in one million toothpic overnight) they will cut corners as well and raze forests to satisfy your toothpic urges...or maybe reduce your wage, or maybe ask you to work in worse condition, expose you to more risk and stuff.

It's the whole "who fucking cares" mentality that seems to produce a lot more losers then winners.
posted by elpapacito at 10:07 AM on November 2, 2006


A good book for more on this: The Wal-Mart Effect
posted by cal71 at 10:11 AM on November 2, 2006


Nice book. The paperback will be avaiable at Walmart for JUST $ 9.69 , Pre-Order NOW !
posted by elpapacito at 10:18 AM on November 2, 2006


There is a fundamental flaw in Lynn's article.

Monoposy power, like monopoly power, is not itself illegal. It is only illegal if one acquires or maintains it through anticompetitive means. Wal-Mart has not. All Wal-Mart did to become a monopsony was to operate far more efficiently than its competitors and thus offer goods at cheaper prices. It was left up to consumers to decide whether they valued price more than other things, such as wide selection, decent worker pay, and so on, in deciding whether to shop at Wal-Mart or other stores. Judging by Wal-Mart's retail market share, consumers clearly chose price.

I'd like to emphasize this. Once Wal-Mart became legally big, using its vast market power in arms-length transactions with suppliers to get the lowest price for itself is perfectly legal.

Perhaps realizing that Wal-Mart did nothing illegal in acquiring its monopsony power, Lynn harps on about how bad it is that antitrust law allows behemoths like Wal-Mart to arise due to consumer choice because there are bad long-term effects of allowing behemoths like Wal-Mart to exist.

I won't comment on the strength of Lynn's policy argument, but people here should realize that that's all it is--a policy argument for reforming the antitrust laws. It is in no way a legal argument. Were Lynn to make his argument to even the most liberal Supreme Court justice today, it would fall on deaf ears.

Take a look at the Professional Engineers case, in which Justice Stevens, writing for the Court, made clear that attacks on the wisdom of consumer choice or the value of price competition will fall on deaf ears; Congress, through the Sherman Act, has already made the policy choice in favor of consumer choice and competition:

"The Sherman Act reflects a legislative judgment that ultimately competition will produce not only lower prices, but also better goods and services. 'The heart of our national economic policy long has been faith in the value of competition.' Standard Oil Co. v. FTC, 340 U.S. 231, 248 . The assumption that competition is the best method of allocating resources in a free market recognizes that all elements of a bargain - quality, service, safety, and durability - and not just the immediate cost, are favorably affected by the free opportunity to select among alternative offers. Even assuming occasional exceptions to the presumed consequences of competition, the statutory policy precludes inquiry into the question whether competition is good or bad."

Unfortunately, Lynn argues that antitrust law, properly understood, should have prevented Wal-Mart from arising in the first place, and that this original understanding was perverted by the Reagan administration. It's this part of the article that is simplistic and misrepresentative. Lynn ascribes ill, pro-business motives to the Reagan administration's change in policy without grappling with the persuasive economics that shows that many populist cases, like the ones Lynn champions, actually harmed consumers and small businesses.

There's a good reason why there's been such a shift in antitrust law among both conservatives and liberals (note Lynn's criticisms of the Clinton administration, again ascribing self-interested motives) and isn't because of a pro-business bias. Instead, it has to do with a more sophisticated understanding of economics that judges from the 1890s-1950s simply did not have.

For example, take a look at State Oil Co. v. Khan, in which the court unanimously overturned the per se prohibition against maximum price fixing because maximum price fixing has procompetitive benefits. Did Ginsburg, Breyer, and Stevens vote the way they did simply because they love big oil companies?

Or look at Jefferson Parish Hospital v. Hyde, in which the court unanimously upheld an exclusive dealing arrangement between a hospital and group of doctors.

Lynn is, of course, free to argue for antitrust reform, but he should at least sit in on an antitrust law class before ascribes the shift in antitrust law to base pro-big business motives.
posted by saslett at 11:12 AM on November 2, 2006 [1 favorite]


..in nearly half of all states, stores such as Walmart don't need to pay income taxes due to the The geoffrey loophole
Add to that the very generous property tax abatements (or outright exemptions) smaller communities often grant to big boxes like Wal-Mart.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:14 AM on November 2, 2006


elpapacito:

Well, Wal-Mart is behaving according to the basic dictates of capitalism, which are that the accumulation of capital is primary. This is self-reinforcing, because capitalist production and distribution automatically favor the person starting off with the most capital, and they reward behavior that seeks to maximize profits at all costs. Even if all but one of the capitalists tried to be a "good capitalist," the single "bad capitalist" would, by seeking to maximize profits, outperform them all in the long run.

Every Wal-Mart is a monument to Marx's Capital, because Wal-Mart makes it particularly clear that predatory capitalism is by far the most successful model within the system we have today. The logic of its "low prices," if followed to the end, eventually result in the depression of wages to the point where the consumer economy collapses (because no one can afford the goods that need to be produced in order to turn a profit), which is the upshot of the whole capitalist economy in Marx's critique. There is no solution to what Wal-Mart represents within the system, because it is symptomatic of the system's underlying flaws.
posted by graymouser at 11:17 AM on November 2, 2006


Clarification: In Khan, the Court held that vertical maximum price-fixing is not per se illegal. Horizontal maximum price-fixing still is per se illegal. Nonetheless, early populist decisions of the sort Lynn favors couldn't see that vertical maximum price-fixing can benefit consumers and businesses.
posted by saslett at 11:48 AM on November 2, 2006


Monoposy power, like monopoly power, is not itself illegal. It is only illegal if one acquires or maintains it through anticompetitive means.

That could make sense in a Court, but not to an economist, as the legality or illegality of monopoly or monopsony is completely irrelevant when
you focus on its effects. To draw a contemporary parallel, it could be that waterboarding prisoners practice is legal, but that doesn't make its effects less devastating or less useless. Of course, we still are under the rule of law (apparently) but not questioning a law would be intolerable and counterproductive.

Judging by Wal-Mart's retail market share, consumers clearly chose price

One actually can't choose over price, unless exactly the same good is offered at two different prices. Two distinct good may look very similar, but
they are never exactly the same, while prices can be exactly the same (prices are just numbers).

Yet even if all of this is true, many consumer think two goods which _appear_ to be functionally the same are "basically the same shit". Therefore they will choose the one with the lowest price, because they don't have infinite wage and because they need to work a lot to gain little. Very often their evaluation of the qualities of the good is superficial at best, or completely absent ; that doesn't imply Walmart sold products are bad, but this suggests many consumers don't pay much attention and are often too price sensitive.

So I would rather say that customers are "price sensitive" as they rarely have a price-only choice.

State Oil Co. v. Khan

Thanks for posting these two interesting cases. I gave a quick glance to SO vs Khan and noticed the following passages

this Court finds it difficult to maintain that verticallyimposed maximum prices could harm consumers or competition to the extent necessary to justify their per se invalidation

Correct me if , is I think, I am wrong or considering this too superficially, but would a "per se" invalidation of a fixed prices require the price
to harm the consumer for the mere fact it exists ? Probably I am missing the point.

Yet fixing a maximum price could lead to negative consequences for consumer, for the mere fact it exits. Consider for instance a little gasoline pump whose exercise and maintenance cost are such that it needs to sell 1 gallon / 1 $ to make a profit the owner deems to be acceptable, considering its predictable and historical frequency and volume of sales. If the maximum price is $ 0.90 , he clearly should close shop , or give up a part of profit. Who cares, except him ?

Some consumers may. If some of these consumers need , for instance, to travel 20 miles to refuel to the closest pump they MAY incour in cost to reach the pump (fuel consumption, car consumption, time waste) that they wouldn't sustain by choosing a closer service station.

Graymouse : and they reward behavior that seeks to maximize profits at all costs.

So as long as they don't pay the cost or the cost is significantly lower then the revenue.
posted by elpapacito at 1:11 PM on November 2, 2006


Did you just compare monopsony to waterboarding?
posted by monju_bosatsu at 1:43 PM on November 2, 2006


monju: nope, I said legalization doesn't make legalized activity fine or acceptable
posted by elpapacito at 2:40 PM on November 2, 2006


Elpapacito,

Natural monopolies, which American law protects, are not illegal. It is perfectly normal, even expected, in certain industries that one firm will dominate simply because it is more efficient if one firm provides the service or because there's insufficient demand for two firms to provide the service. The utility industry is one example. Small-town newspapers are another. Major league sports teams (in most markets) are another. Can I sue the Dallas Cowboys simply because they have a monopoly on NFL football in the Dallas market? Can I sue the Times-Picayune because it has a monopoly in the New Orleans newspaper market? No, of course not.

To turn your monopsony example against you, I assume that you support nationalized health care, right? In some countries, one state run insurance company buys all the health care services. That insurance company is a state sanctioned monopsony. The benefits to consumers are great because health care costs drop considerably. Is this a monopsony with automatically terrible effects that, according to you, an economist should condemn? (Before people feel inclined to start an argument over health care, yes, I'm aware that it also discourages innovative, expensive treatments, reduces the number of doctors, and so on. I don't want to get into that debate.)

Again, monopolies and monopsonies are only illegal or if acquired or maintained through anticompetitive means (and, moreover, if there are high barriers to entry for competing firms--but I don't want to go into that). What are anticompetitive means? Well, you'd need to take an antitrust class to find out, but they're usually nasty things like predatory pricing--nothing that Wal-Mart is alleged to have done. But most monopolies exist simply because consumers preferred the now-monopoly company. Indeed, patent law even encourages monopolization--all a patent is is the exclusive right to produce X product and sell or license the patent at terms the patent holder dictates. We find this OK because we believe that giving exclusive rights to produce a product for a period of time encourages innovation.

As for your question about "per se" invalidations, I'll speak in broad strokes. Basically, under the Sherman Act, there are certain antitrust violations that are "per se" illegal. If a possible antitrust violation does not fall within the per se category, it is evaluated under the "rule of reason," which is basically a balancing test in which the court scrutinizes the procompetitive benefits and the anticompetive effects of the possible violation. If something falls within the per se category, courts declare it illegal without looking at any possible procompetitive benefits. The idea is that violations in the per se category are so anticompetitive more often than not that we want to discourage companies from implemented them by always declaring them illegal, even though they may be procompetitive in individual cases. (Again, this is really simplified. In practice, it's quite a bit more complicated.)

Anyway, as our understanding of economics has gotten better, courts have started moving more and more violations that used to be in the per se category into the rule of reason category.

The Khan case is an example. There, an oil company set the maximum price its retailers at which its retailers could sell its gasoline. An earlier Supreme Court case, Albrecht, said maximum vertical price-fixing was per se illegal. But now, we know much more about maximum vertical price-fixing's effects. They're procompetitive in that (1) they allow firms to protect themselves from monopoly retailers and (2) they can encourage intrabrand price competition. If I'm a small firm that wants to encourage sales of my product, but a monopolist down the distribution chain wants to jack up the price, vertical maximum price-fixing protects me against that. Also, if I set only a maximum price, retailers can't charge above that price and may be encouraged to charge below the maximum price. Moreover, a per se rule against maximum price-fixing encourages vertical integration. If I can agree with a retailer to charge a maximum price, it makes more sense for me to enter the retail business by buying a bunch of retail outlets.

Of course, they also have anticompetitive effects. Vertical maximum price-fixing can be a way to mask minimum price-fixing. Also, vertical maximum price-fixing discourages interbrand non-price competition. That is, if the retailers can't charge as high a price as they want for the product, they may not have the funds to compete on non-price terms (e.g. advertising, service and support) with other products.

The point is that the economics are not as simple as they may first appear and the Court thought the pro and anticompetitive effects of vertical maximum price-fixing should be hashed out in each case.

And just as the economics of vertical maximum price-fixing not so simple, so are the economics of monopolies and monopsonies.
posted by saslett at 3:57 PM on November 2, 2006


Fourth paragraph, last sentence should read "If I cannot agree with a retailer . . . ."
posted by saslett at 4:01 PM on November 2, 2006


It is perfectly normal, even expected, in certain industries that one firm will dominate simply because it is more efficient if one firm provides the service or because there's insufficient demand for two firms to provide the service.

Bah you are just being economical with the truth, which in the elite circles is called "you are not telling the whole story". As many people in
production happen to know (but this is hardly secret knowledge) -natural- monopolies are not caused by demand, but by technology. Given some techonology or implementation of it , it could be that the production costs are such that they need to be distributed on the greatest possible number of units , otherwise people would have to pay a price so high they wouldn't actually buy the good.

So if for instance the DVD production that was such that USD 1 million was necessary to build the firm, this cost is called a "fixed cost" because it must be sustained, otherwise you couldn't enter the DVD production biz.( This also works as a "barrier to entry" which means that if you don't have 1 billion to invest upfront, you just can't enter the business, but NOT because some people is harassing you. You just don't have the money, or banks don't want to give it to you for one reason or another)

Back to the DVD factory example. If I was to produce just 1000 DVD copies, I would need to shift the fixed cost of USD 1 million on them, so each DVD copy would cost as least USD 1000 , without considering variable cost, amortization and profit margin. They aren't in business to benefit the mankind, but they NEED to reduce price otherwise people wouldn't buy (because they don't have the money, not because they are cheap leeches)..so they either find a way to reduce the fixed cost or produce 10000 DVD copies. YET if they need to invest more to produce 10000 copies, the will need to have higher fixed cost. YET this is NOT caused by "firm being naturally" ..this is bullshit, it is caused by actual technology and the way the firm plans to implement it. .

Also the definition of market is very very shady, sometimes it is reduced, sometimes it is extended, usually to accomodate the will of big players in the industry ; such was the move in Italy to avoid antitrust problems , it is a lot easier to just redefine what is market.

If I'm a small firm that wants to encourage sales of my product, but a monopolist down the distribution chain wants to jack up the price, vertical maximum price-fixing protects me against that.

A sale monopolist (down the distribution chain from little producer without means to consumers) doesn't have much interest into rising prices as it reduces the number of people who can afford the good, but as it controls the market it could in theory favour one company giving better margins by rising the sale price of the others, thus reducing in theory the absolute amount sold, harming the little company. Which is Walmart, being a monopsony so big it becomes almost a monopolist of the service of sales. yet as I guess Walmart buys the good before the sale and takes all the risk of not selling all the product, it does not have much interest into rising the prices , unless of course this can be used to exercise a pressure on producer to lower the sale cost to Walmart. yet if I am wrong and Walmar doesn't advance-buy and risk-take, many producers are almost at the mercy of the giant OR would need to invest billions in producing more sales surfaces.

This behavior seems to discourage competition and to promote consolidation in big groups such as Unilever, Nestle et al. While this pressure MAY lead to more investment in technological advancement, these will be almost certainly concentrated on reducing COST of production one way or the other, which doesn't necessarily lead to a further reduction of sale price or improvement in product quality. On the contrary a reduction of lines and variability of products could be expected, if that produces a cost cut. I would expect extreme specialization and strong consolidation, outsourcing to countries with reduced workforce cost for labor intensive productions, reduction of variety, reduction of wages and/or increased risk shifting on consumers.
posted by elpapacito at 5:33 PM on November 2, 2006


The US Supreme Court will address an aspect of monopsony this term in Weyerhaeuser v. Ross-Simmons.
posted by footnote at 6:40 PM on November 2, 2006


Elpapacito, you're English is poor or your ideas are unintelligible or both. It's fruitless to continue this conversation.
posted by saslett at 7:15 PM on November 2, 2006


(And, yes, "you're" was an intentional joke.)
posted by saslett at 7:16 PM on November 2, 2006


Sure why not, it must be my fault certainly. Sure intentional yokes, still you felt compelled to correct your funny "joke" fearing that everybody and expecially me could too stupid to understand. Damn these idiots could think I am an idiot and I factually care about idiots opinion, even if I am so smart.

Don't worry, idiots don't hate you , it is just that you come off like a college graduate with good intellectual education , but poor emotional one. Don't immediately challenge people in intellectual fights, get to know them first.
posted by elpapacito at 2:20 AM on November 3, 2006


Amusingly, elpapacito's retort was as unintelligible as his previous post.

And this...

It is only illegal if one acquires or maintains it through anticompetitive means. Wal-Mart has not.

...clearly shows that saslett has not seen this. Legal definition of "anticompetitive" aside, price-bullying and Chinese manufacturing put a bit of a damper on any "free market" arguments.
posted by dgbellak at 6:15 AM on November 3, 2006


OK. I apologize for the lame joke. But you have to understand that it was caused by tremendous frustration. I put a fair amount of effort into explaining something, thinking that you'd at least be able to engage with it and offer back an understandable response. Instead, I get gobbleygook back, causing me to believe that I've wasted my time. So, sorry. But I'll still have to think twice (or three times) before responding to anything on the internet).

Dgbellak, thanks for the link, but I know that Wal-Mart does nasty, but legal things. The law frequently protects immoral behavior, as you recognize. My point is that, right or wrong, Wal-Mart hasn't done anything to earn treble damages antitrust liability. Not that they apparently haven't done bad things and been found liable. Witness the two verdicts against them for allegedly not paying their workers overtime pay (do a google search and you'll see what I'm talking about).
posted by saslett at 8:40 AM on November 3, 2006


It just seemed that statement basically boiled down to "They've done something illegal only if they've done something illegal," a circuitous argument that comes awfully close to negating the court system. The legal definitions of monopolies and their variants change with every new mega-corporation that finds a loophole, or have you followed any of the pre-Microsoft/Wal-Mart antitrust issues since the Sherman days? In fact, thank you for bringing up Wal-Mart and court cases which they, um, lost. Gives me comfort if Wal-Mart ever does have a strong antitrust case brought against them. (I also find it amusing that we still use the term "allegedly" even after it's been decided by a federal jury, but that just shows the struggle between language and legality.)
posted by dgbellak at 9:19 AM on November 3, 2006


Well, the law isn't that circuitous. It's just that conduct that the courts consider to satisfy the "anticompetitive means" prong is lengthy, and one can many days on covering all the suspect conduct in an antitrust class. I mentioned one--predatory pricing. Bundling rebates is another. Canceling an existing business deal for no reason but to maintain or acquire monopoly power is another. Withholding access to an essential facility is another. Certain types of boycotting is another, fixing prices is another, allocating markets is another. (And this list isn't exhaustive! Just check out some of the conduct that caused the D.C. Circuit to find Microsoft liable of monopolization.)

One of the interesting things about antitrust is that because some of the anticompetitve conduct required to get or maintain a monopoly requires agreeing with others to do something illegal, it's often far easier to sue under section 1 of the Sherman Act (restraints of trade) rather than section 2.

I don't think Wal-Mart has been accused of doing any of these, though.
posted by saslett at 10:23 AM on November 3, 2006


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