With these anti-trust laws we are insured safeness from unreasonable trade, price discrimination, and unfair and anti-competitive business practices. I feel anytime new laws or regulations are introduced there is initial skepticism about their purpose and the impact they will have even when the laws that are enacted that are intended to promote fair and competitive business practices. Although people may not realize it, as a consumer, antitrust laws affect their daily life in a variety of ways. In 1890, Congress enacted the Sherman Antitrust Act, a law designed to restore intention and free enterprise by breaking up monopolies.
The Act of July 2, 1890(Sherman Anti-Trust Act) states that “This Act outlaws all contracts, combinations, and conspiracies that unreasonably restrain interstate and foreign trade. This includes agreements among competitors to fix prices, rig bids, and allocate customers, which are punishable as criminal felonies (pig. 1). ” The original intention of the Sherman Antitrust Act was to protect consumers from big businesses that were using unscrupulous means to raise prices artificially, such as intentionally reducing too few goods to meet consumer demand and thereby driving up the products’ value and price.
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The US Department of Justice says, “The principal law expressing our national commitment to a free market economy in which competition free from private and governmental restraints leads to the best results for consumers (pig. 2). ” The government has tried to keep the trade industries and consumers safe from being treated unfairly during business practices. So in 1914, Congress passed two more laws designed to bolster the Sherman Antitrust Act: the Clayton Antitrust Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act.
The Clayton Antitrust Act defined more clearly what constituted illegal restraint of trade. Institute for International Economics states that, “The act outlawed price discrimination that gave certain buyers an advantage over others; forbade agreements in which manufacturers sell only to dealers who agree not to sell a rival manufacturer’s products; and prohibited some types of mergers and other acts that could decrease competition (pig. 2). ” The Federal Trade Commission Act established a government commission aimed at preventing unfair and anti-competitive business practices.
The c compliance Manual states Tanat, “To prevent business practices that are anticompetitive or deceptive or unfair to consumers; to enhance informed consumer choice and public understanding of the competitive process; and to accomplish this without unduly burdening legitimate business activity (pig. VII-I . 2). ” Many more laws and regulations have been enacted since the asses to protect workers and consumers further. It is against the law for employers to discriminate in hiring on the basis of age, sex, race, or religious belief. Child labor generally is prohibited.
Independent labor unions are guaranteed the right to organize, bargain, and strike. All these laws are put in place to help keep everyone safe and protected. It is not always easy to define when a violation of antitrust laws occurs. Interpretations of the laws have varied, and analysts often disagree in assessing whether companies have gained so much power that they can interfere with the workings of the market. The US Department of Justice says, “Effective antitrust enforcement requires public support. Public ignorance and apathy can weaken antitrust enforcement more than anything else.
Whether you are a businessperson or a consumer, if you encounter business behavior that appears to violate the antitrust laws you should contact the enforcement authorities (pig. 5). ” What’s more, conditions change, and corporate arrangements that appear to pose antitrust threats in one era may appear less threatening in another. Whether consumers are shopping for food at the grocery store, buying a car, or downloading new software from the Internet, antitrust laws play an important role in ensuring that people have the benefit of competitive prices and high quality goods and services.