Although Amazon seems to be the prime offender, (no pun intended) lack of antitrust enforcement goes back to the 1970s with the implementation of the Consumer Welfare Standard put forth by Robert Bork. Simply, the Consumer Welfare Standard states that regulators and courts should pursue consumer welfare and economic efficiency as the main criterion to look to when evaluating a merger or alleged anticompetitive behavior. The consequence is that other entities such as local businesses and the communities that they reside in are of little concern. Also, with the recent creation of tech platforms such as Amazon, businesses, mostly small, have no protection from the creator of the platform also acting as a business competitor on the platform. This is an incredible asymmetry of power that regulation has not rectified. More enforcement of existing antitrust regulation needs to be implemented and, if necessary, new regulations and legislation need to be created to level the playing field on the new tech platforms. To these ends, Big Apple Coffee Party has adopted the following resolution at the December 17, 2019 general meeting:
23. In Support of Greater Antitrust Enforcement Against Monopoly Power
WHEREAS, the basis for antitrust enforcement is more than just the adherence to the outmoded “Consumer Welfare Standard” (if the consumer benefits, there can’t be any antitrust issues), so that the community benefits of small business can be better recognized and protected, and
WHEREAS, there should be a review of the tech platforms and their effect on competition, barriers to entry, privacy, and market concentration, and
WHEREAS, because of the lack of antitrust enforcement, the number of new (small) business formations has been seriously reduced that leads to lack of competition, reduction in product quality, variety and innovation, and
WHEREAS, there should be a clearer and more expansive approach and guidelines to the review of mergers and acquisitions that includes the effect on consumer prices, promotion of greater competition, and concentration of economic power, and stronger enforcement of existing antitrust regulations, therefore be it
Resolved, Big Apple Coffee Party will work, along with allies, to support the greater use of existing antitrust laws and regulations and, if necessary, the creation of news laws and regulations to maintain a proper balance within the market structure of commercial enterprises.