Structure Is Bigness Badnees
While price fixing and other illegal activities are important, the most visible antitrust cases concern the structure of industries rather than the conduct of companies. They consist of attempts to malt up large firms as well as preventive proceedings against proposed mergers of large firms.
The first surge of antitrust activity under the Sherman Act focused on dismantling existing monopolies. In 1911, the Supreme Court ordered that’ the American Tobacco Company and Standard Oil be broken up into many separate companies. these flagrant monopolies. the Supreme Court enunciated the important “rule of reason” Only unreasonable restraints of trade (mergers. agreements, and the like) came within the scope of the Sherman.
Act and were considered illegal. The rule-of-reason doctrine virtually nullified antitrust laws’ attack. on monopolistic mergers. shown by the U.S. Steel case (1920). j. P. Morgan had put this giant together by merger. and at its Peak it controlled 60 percent of the market. But Supreme Court held that pure size or monopoly’by themselves were no offense. In that period. as today. courts focused more on conduct than on pure monopoly Structure.
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