Author: Jarod Bona
As antitrust attorneys, we advocate for competition in product and service markets. The US Supreme Court recognizes that “the heart of our national economy long as been faith in the value of competition,” and we agree.
But competition matters elsewhere too. We certainly see it in sports. You might notice that sport leagues strive to increase parity to make the league more competitive overall. So when your favorite NFL Football team creates twelve to sixteen sleepless nights for you one year, the league rewards it with a high draft pick the next year. And if your team wins more than it loses, the NFL scheduling gods will punish them the next year with a tougher path to the playoffs.
Anyway, if you read the Harvard Business Review, you may have noticed an article that is sure to pique the interest of an antitrust lawyer like myself. (July-August 2020 Issue). It isn’t about sports, but it is still interesting.
Everyone seems unhappy with the current state of political affairs—so maybe more competition is the solution?
(This is a good reminder that every profession—including antitrust attorney—sees solutions to problems through their own, very specific, eyes. Knee injury? You need more competition. Of course, it isn’t always effective.)
Before we jump into Gehl and Porter’s work, as a disclaimer, Bona Law isn’t a political law firm: we don’t take any specific positions on politics or candidates. Our firm is made up of actual people, all of whom have freedom of thought and their own individual views, which we respect. As a firm, we take positions on certain types of policy—like encouraging competition and discouraging the government from destroying competition. But Bona Law is an antitrust law firm, so that’s not a surprise. But when it comes to politics, that is for each person to decide for themselves. Politics is personal.
According to the authors, politics are driven by the same five forces that affect more traditional markets: “the nature and intensity of rivalry, the power of buyers, the power of suppliers, the threat of new entrants, and the pressure from substitutes that compete in new ways.” (117). The authors explain that—unfortunately—the politics industry doesn’t have healthy competition.
The key problem, according to the authors, is that the Democrats and Republicans have a duopoly and that they work hard to keep it that way—with great success.