AuthorJohn S. Tyhurst
Competition law is centred on an important and deceptively simple
idea: that competitive markets ca n eciently and eectively deliver the
goods, services, a nd economic growth which society de sires. The power
of this idea is ref‌lected in t he predominance of mixed, market-reliant
economies around the world, and the adoption of competition laws in
more than 125 countries.1
Competitive markets are, however, complex and seldom resemble
the economists’ models. Digita l and data markets il lustrate the point.
These markets have many new entr ants, are incredibly innovative, swift
to change, and are growing quickly. Nonetheless, certain market seg-
ments have seen the emergence of dominant players. Some commenta-
tors have made comparisons to t he railways and tr usts which spawned
competition and antitrust law s in North America in t he late 1800s.
Others see the leading f‌irms as vibrant competitors, merely delivering
what consumers want: low prices and in novative products or services.
Should the emergence of these large digital players be a concern for
competition law? The assessment of such market structures and con-
duct often requires the balancing of benef‌icial against harmful eects.
It also requires consideration of the goals of the law, and how they may
(or may not) be served by alternative remedies.
The foregoing are among the reasons why competition law and policy
is not only a highly relevant, but also a fasc inating and challenging area,
1 OECD (2020), OECD Competition Trends 2020, online : ion/

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