Thursday, 21 February 2019

it’s bananas—b-a-n-a-n-a-s

As part of a series of episodes on the topic of cartels and monopolies, NPR’s Planet Money takes a look at how the pendulum of US justice system swung from one extreme to the other in its view on mergers and acquisitions—from advocating consumer protection and the fostering of competition to the notion that the public benefited from consolidation and corporate imperialism.
The shift in outlook was largely due to the influence of US Solicitor General (elevated to that position due to the carnage of the Saturday Night Massacre) and DC circuit judge Robert Bork (*1927 – †2012)—whose views coloured the opinion of the Supreme Court (whose nomination to the high-court was famously blocked, coining the term to bork as a verb for obstructing or de-platforming) regarding antitrust matters from the 1970s onward and resulting in these giant conglomerates and inescapable subsidiaries. One of the legal scholars contributing to this piece described the government’s extreme stance on both sides as a kid—beginning with the best intentions—starting to spell “bananas” and not knowing when to stop.