COMPETITION/REGULATION: CONTROLLING CORPORATE POWER IN THE DIGITAL ECONOMY
Temple Law Review Annual Symposium
October 19, 2023
Concern over a lack of competition has reached a fever pitch across the American economy. From Big Tech to Big Banking to Big Agriculture, corporate concentration poses a growing threat to economic liberty, welfare, and democracy. Workers, small businesses, and consumers are paying the price for a lack of competition—literally.
Policymakers often focus on antitrust law as the solution to revitalize competition in America. While antitrust law is essential, it is just one tool to solve this problem. It exists alongside regulatory regimes with great power to affect competition in transportation, telecommunications, securities, labor, and beyond. What is the relationship between antitrust law and such regulation? How can these regulatory regimes—and the agencies that enforce them—work to restore competition in the economy? And why does it matter that antitrust institutions and beyond strive for competition?
Join us to explore the past, present and future of competition and regulation. The discussion will appeal to a wide cross section of stakeholders, including public and private enforcers, policymakers, law students, public interest advocates, and scholars.
Welcome – 9:15-9:30
Rachel Rebouché, Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law
Panel 1 – The Modern Regulator: Agency Power and Challenges 9:30-11:00
While at times overlooked, administrative agencies decide more cases each year than federal courts. These agencies have great power to affect competition in nearly every aspect of our lives, from drug and airline safety to farming, telecommunications, and transportation. In recognition of this power, President Biden issued a recent Executive Order instructing all federal agencies—not just antitrust enforcers—to promote competition within the American economy. At the same time, the Supreme Court is actively stripping these agencies of long-used powers in cases like AMG Capital Management LLC v. FTC, and may soon overturn fundamental law on deference to agency expertise in Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo.
How can we understand the power of these modern regulators to affect competition? What are the opportunities and challenges that agencies face in focusing on competition? How might agencies navigate the tension between competition and other regulatory priorities, or even incommensurate values such as free speech and privacy? Join us to hear insider perspectives from our expert panel on the power of these essential institutions in antitrust law and beyond.
Moderator: Craig Green, Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law
- Thomas B. Nachbar, University of Virginia School of Law
- Darren Bush, University of Houston Law Center
- Howard Shelanski, Georgetown University Law Center
Lunchtime Keynote – Agencies and Big Tech 11:00-12:30
Speaker Zephyr Teachout, Fordham University School of Law
Panel 2 – Competition and Regulation in Context: Reflecting on History to Inform Digital Debates. 12:30-2:00
The histories of antitrust and regulation have long been intertwined, from Big Railroads and Big Oil to telecommunications monopolies. As the U.S. considers new laws in the digital space, what can we learn from this long history of competition and regulation? How should we understand the relationship between antitrust law and regulation? There is a strong impulse to regulate digital companies around the globe—is this the right approach for the U.S.?
Moderator: Erika Douglas, Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law
- Diana Moss, Progressive Policy Institute
- Sam Weinstein, Cardozo University School of Law
- Jack Kirkwood, Seattle University School of Law
Fireside Chat – Competition’s Payoff: Labor, Democracy, Equality. 2:00-3:00
In recent decades, antitrust law has narrowed its focus to economic efficiency and consumers, but competition has long had much broader political and social significance. Weak competitive structures deny Americans the fundamental benefits of an open economy, with wide-ranging ramifications for equality, economic liberty and democratic accountability. Join us for a fireside chat on the wide-ranging effects of a lack of competition on labor, democracy, and even the environment. To what extent can antitrust law advance these political and social interests? How can agencies that focus on labor or other interests also promote competition?
- Salil Mehra, Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law
- Hiba Hafiz, Boston College/FTC
- Sabeel Rahman, Cornell Law School
Closing Remarks 3:00-3:10