FOREWORD: COMPETITION POLICY – OBJECT-EFFECT – ECONOMIC EFFICIENCY

Is respect of free and fair competition a finality or a tool?

With the rise of the common market and the search for a competition law based on “sound economic principles” during the end of the twentieth century, we buried the now aged German ordo-liberal philosophy. This finality had as a purpose to maintain certain types of markets as a finality in itself. Thereby; a certain sense of modernity removed from competition law every subjective and ideological questioning on its finality. However, how confident are we about this ? Do the constant references to measurable economic efficiency actually bring righteousness and objectivity we believe they bring? What has been the actual impact on rivals who suffered from these rules which are apparently centered on the consumer surplus? Now comes a duty to itemize in order to tether the benefits gained from industrial economy to the need for sense that comes out every type of law. Competition needs to be rediscovered as a finality and not only as a tool.

*This article is an automatic translation of the original article in French, provided here for your convenience. Read the original article. Current competition law seems to have definitively resolved this issue when it modernised its rules from the 2000s onwards. For competition law, far from being an end in itself, the maintenance of free and undistorted competition is now merely a means to another end, that of economic efficiency. In this way, competition law would no longer be driven by any underlying philosophy that could make the search for a state of free and undistorted competition an end in itself: it would only be concerned with practices that have the effect of affecting consumer surplus. It would follow from this doxa that, in the absence of a proven effect, there can be

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Olivier Fréget, Is respect of free and fair competition a finality or a tool?, September 2016, Concurrences Nº 3-2016, Art. N° 80008, www.concurrences.com

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