KEYNOTE ADDRESS: JOSEPH STIGLITZ TOWARDS A BROADER VIEW OF COMPETITION POLICY
The conference opened with a keynote address delivered by Professor Joseph Stiglitz (Nobel Prize-Winning Economist, University Professor, Columbia University, New York) on the need for antitrust policy to take a broader view of market power and threats to competition.
Professor Stiglitz invoked his experience with competition policy during his time at the World Bank, where he served as Chief Economist. During his tenure, experts assumed that markets were “automatically” competitive and that any inefficiency and exploitation observed in developing markets could be addressed by market reform and liberalization. Contrary to these assumptions, Professor Stiglitz often observed that when inefficient government regulators were removed, they were quickly replaced by even more exploitative and inefficient private monopolists.
Professor Stiglitz called for a broad rethinking of antitrust policy, both in the United States and in developing economies. He argued that current antitrust frameworks have been unable to respond to increased market power by firms, growing concerns about monopsony power, and rising income inequality. Antitrust policy must acknowledge that technological changes mean that today’s monopolists, like Google and Facebook, probably exercise more market power than Standard Oil and American Tobacco once did.