ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Hub-and-spoke Cartels

The current approach adopted by the judicial bodies in dealing with the hub-and-spoke conspiracies is evaluated and compared with the development of the jurisprudence in foreign jurisdictions. The inhibitions faced by the judicial bodies due to a lack of maturity of the laws are also looked at.

Breaking up Tech Giants

The economic power wielded by tech giants has been aided and abetted by the lax enforcement of antitrust regulations by the United States. It has allowed them to create an almost impassable moat around their businesses, while being able to bully, browbeat, and buy out any competitors who look remotely threatening. Calls by politicians to break up these tech giants are more than timely and need to be taken seriously by regulators across the world.

Alternating Pressures of Antitrust and Intellectual Property

The Great Leveler: Capitalism and Competition in the Court of Law by Brett Christophers; Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2016; pp 360, $46.50.

India's Competition Policy: An Assessment

Even as it is confronted with the likelihood of negotiations on competition policy after the Cancun Ministerial of the WTO, India is in transition between its Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices (MRTP) Act and the new Competition Act. This paper undertakes a detailed analysis of various aspects of this situation. It first reviews a series of recent judgments of the Supreme Court that have set aside orders of the MRTP Commission, depriving it of extra-territorial jurisdiction and the power to restrict imports, and curbing its tendency to adjudicate 'fair' prices. Section II examines the Competition Act, especially several amendments that were introduced as it was being passed, including one that explicitly arms the Competition Commission with the authority to impose import restrictions, and several others that will be self-defeating or difficult to implement. While these two sections employ standard economic theory and comparisons with contemporary international practice, Section III adopts a more historical approach, examining the political economy of competition policy in various countries, and its limited scope for serving distributional objectives in the Indian context. Section IV argues that the case for a WTO agreement on competition policy is greatly overstated, and that India should ally with other developing countries to block such an agreement. On a more positive note, while amendments to the Competition Act are implied by the analysis of Section II, the two succeeding sections develop criteria for exemptions from its provisions.

Competition, Regulation and Strategy

The IT industry (both software and hardware) is characterised by 'vast consumer side scale and scope economies' which are incomparably larger than in other industries with supply side network economies like pipelines or electricity distribution. In IT the supply side economies are also incomparably larger because the marginal cost of an additional unit of the software or hardware especially the former is very small. But its uniqueness arises on the demand side. The interaction of these two economies, in a situation of heightened technological dynamism, imposes a greater degree of contingency, and hence path dependency in the developments in the industry as a whole. It makes possible giants like Microsoft and CISCO. Even as they extract a significant part of the scale economies in the form of large profits, such firms are competitive in the more relevant dynamic sense. In this respect these industries are therefore distinguished from nearly all other prior industries. Traditional anti-trust like regulation or price regulation is entirely outmoded for the development of these industries. Strategies with the most potential would involve promoting inter-firm linkages, promoting industries with the least need to be in contact with other firms, in fresh clusters. The costs of disassociation are too large even for large countries attempting to have a role in the evolution of IT industries, so that closed-door approaches are almost entirely unworkable.

Globalisation and the Management of Indian Cities

Cities in Europe and North America have been through three decades of innovation in institutions and practices as they seek to accommodate the new environment of global economic integration. Many have learned to facilitate the creation of new economies that have institutionalised incremental change with a changing political consensus, liberating themselves in part from those rigidities that make for extreme vulnerability in conditions of crisis. The same is also true of cities in Latin America and in China. However, elsewhere - including possibly India - the sovereign state is often still struggling to retain its monopoly control. In doing so, the state stifles the full potential role of cities to advance the world, to reduce the burden of world poverty. Liberating the cities is thus a key part of the agenda for the new century and for the eradication of poverty.
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