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The complexities of competition and competitiveness: challenges for competition law and economic governance in variegated capitalism

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter (peer-reviewed)

Published

Publication date2013
Host publicationAsian capitalism and the regulation of competition: towards a regulatory geography of global competition law
EditorsMichael C. Dowdle, John S. Gillespie, Imelda Maher
Place of publicationNew York
PublisherCambridge University Press
Pages96-120
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)9781107027428
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

My contribution develops three themes. First, it looks at competition from the perspective of actually existing capitalism and its differential accumulation, rather than from the perspective of how to regulate or govern competition from the viewpoint of its purported role as a public good. While there is a rational kernel to this perspective of competition as a public good in the contradictions between particular capitals and the interests of capital in general, it is typically interpreted in ways that merit at least a sceptical interrogation, if not a more radical ideological critique. Second, it looks at competition law in terms of the complexities of its object, rather than in terms of its mechanisms, its institutional architecture, its advocates, facilitators, coordinators, targets, and agents. Without paying attention to these complexities, there is a tendency to blame regulatory failure on the design of competition law rather than on the inherent ungovernability of its object. And, third, it looks at competition law as one among several means in which economic and political forces seek to design social modes of regulation to promote the differential accumulation of some capitals at the expense of others. In this sense, it looks at competition law is one element in the overall governance of accumulation on a world scale.