Ftc Essay, Research Paper
The Sherman Anti-Trust Act spelled it out for all to hear that monopolies and trusts, and attempts at them, were hereby considered illegal. Every contract or conspiracy that was in restraint of trade or interstate commerce was also deemed illegal. The act further mentions that Federal courts are empowered to restrain these companies and give injunctions, as well as, supeona people and records. There is also mention in the act of relief for injured parties. In such a way that they can sue and receive monetary relief for the damages incurred. Lastly, although ambiguous as a whole, the act does directly state that the word “person(s)” can be used as a synonym for corporations/associations.
The Federal Trade Commission Act further enacts that all unfair methods of competition in commerce are made illegal. This includes persons, partnerships, or corporations, except banks, and common carriers. In order to prevent these abuses, the FTC can serve cease and desist orders, or go to federal court and seek an injunction. The commission’s sole purpose is to investigate into matters of unfair competition and carry through the proper methods for eliminating these practices under the umbrella of powers it holds. This act also states that the commission and courts cannot, whether peacefully or forcefully, persuade an employee to quit or discontinue to communicate information with their employee and co-workers, unless to prevent an injury with no remedy or an irreparable injury.
The Clayton Anti-Trust Act specifically tries to identify practices and brut up the enforcement of these activities that were already made illegal. With this act, there is to be no price discrimination to lessen competition. There is to be no manipulation by anyone to try and persuade anyone from using another person’s commodities when these motives are to substantially lessen competition or to create a monopoly. It also spells out that labor is not a commodity. That people in labor, agriculture, or horticulture, who lawfully meet, help, and share information about their respective industries are not to be seen as conspiring against competition. The act states that no corporation can buy another’s stock for the purpose of lessening competition. Investment, for that sole purpose, is fine. The act also exempts labor unions, who by new definition, are not in violation of commerce.
All of these acts form the backbone of antitrust and are created in the hopes of preventing certain abuses by American businesses. For example, monopoly power, pricing, concentration of industry, and corporate economic power. These acts are essentially doing their best to prevent unfair competition. Giant companies, at this time, and still today, for the most part, were using any means necessary to increase their share of the market. Some tobacco companies would give away their cigarettes just so consumers wouldn’t buy their competitors, thus, driving them out of business. Some companies would buy their small competitors and then close shop. Businesses were trying to expand their reach in every industry imaginable that had anything to do with their overall industry just to have entire control. For example, railroad companies would make secret deals with, buy or merge with steel companies, wood companies, upholstery businesses, and anything you can name that would go into the manufacture and use of railroads and trains. Certain people were controlling up to 90% of their given area of the market. This is what had to stop. This is what Congress hoped to achieve.
I personally think that the goals set by Congress and enforced by the Supreme Court are not all their cracked up to be. It is good in principle, and the laws have prevented and dissolved a lot of unfair competition practices, but with any law there are always loopholes. For starters, there has to be proof of violation. Not everyone wants to talk nor can there be universal standards of what “unfair” competition is. It may be so obvious to the laymen, but when it comes down to court time and expensive lawyers, there has no be, without a doubt, absolute proof. The FTC can only do so much with questioning, investigating, and paper work. I have no absolute proof myself, but can only imagine the networking and handshaking that goes on behind closed doors. Information is always going to be shared by those who thirst for it. A board member here, another somewhere else, get together and have some brandy and make some secret deals. The more and more I watch and read the news, the more I see newly made mergers of already giant corporations. Even companies that are not in the same industry as another still merge. They say it ultimately benefits the consumers but I still don’t buy it. Still, I don’t think that a company who has such a high stake in the media, and in appliances, and automobiles can really be looking out for us. No, it is greed and power. There is more and more horizontal and vertical control being expanded in our marketplace. It has even reached to other nations. I could not offer any new legislation ideas. There will always be loopholes, for nothing is concrete. Congress has to be careful of what it passes because it could violate our, and corporation’s, civil rights. For example, there are restrictions on wire- tapping and bugging. Invasions of privacy, maybe, but proof can be had much easier. No, I think it comes down to playing the waiting came for these companies to screw up. The FTC can still do all the investigating and probing it wants, and there will be a time when these big shots mess up and the FTC can sink their teeth into them.