Popular Media

The Convergence of Antitrust Thought in the Late 1930s and Its Subsequent Collapse

American economists played no role in the enactment of the 1890 Sherman Act and had very little influence in the development of the Federal Trade Commission Act and the Clayton Act in 1914, even though the 1912 presidential campaign had focused on the antitrust issue. Former President Theodore Roosevelt had very harsh words to say about the effectiveness of antitrust policy, considering it at best vain if not counterproductive. Louis Brandeis, a populist attorney who advised Woodrow Wilson in the course of his presidential campaign, was one of the key players in the establishment of the FTC. However, even the future Supreme Court justice only intended the agency to be preventive, not curative.

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