Rediscovering the Spirit of Competition: On the Normative Value of the Competitive Process
Title: Rediscovering the Spirit of Competition: On the Normative Value of the Competitive Process
Author: ANDRIYCHUK, Oles
Series/Report no.: EUI LAW; 2011/01
The normative argument of this paper is that competition should constitute a fundamental value of liberal democracy. The antitrust law thereby should primarily address the deontological issues of protection and promotion of the competitive process. The utilitarian values of competition, such as consumer or total welfare, as well as other economic or political interests which competition ancillary promotes should not be considered as the only legitimate reason for the existence of antitrust law. The assumption that competition is only useful as a means to generate welfare is critically contested in this paper. If liberal democracies appreciate welfare more than competition then the latter could be subject of compromise any time when there are more efficient ways to generate welfare. This would undermine the very concept of freedom which constitutes the main component of the competitive process. The normative justification of this statement is provided by analysing similarities between political, cultural and economic aspects of competition and by demonstrating their constitutional significance for liberal humanistic societies. This bold premise, however, faces many practical difficulties which are addressed in this paper with the view of providing an operational algorithm for correlation between the ethical dimensions of competition and its functional, welfare-centred aspects.
Subject: Theory of competition; constitutional aspects of antitrust; competition law and legal theory; deontological dimension of antitrust
Type of Access: openAccess