With Khan Nomination, Populist Antitrust Maintains Its Foothold on the Federal Trade Commission, Says ITIF
WASHINGTON—In response to President Biden’s expected nomination of Lina Khan to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), issued the following statement from ITIF’s director of antitrust and innovation policy, Aurelien Portuese:
Together with Tim Wu, who has recently been appointed to serve as the White House’s adviser on competition and technology policy, Lina Khan has been instrumental in bringing a populist view of antitrust to mainstream media and the general public. Her influence gained momentum when she helped write the House Antitrust Subcommittee report on big tech companies. Khan’s antitrust populism threatens to derail traditional enforcement of antitrust laws as an engine for enhancing consumer benefits and spurring innovation.
Khan embodies “hipster antitrust”—the unconventional antitrust ideas that bigness is bad and that antitrust should protect competitors, rather than consumers and innovation. Her writings and opinions reveal a strong preference for smaller, less efficient, less innovative rivals at the expense of objective and principled enforcement of antitrust laws. In a time of intense competition with China’s rising economic and technological power, the self-inflicted harm of Khan’s brand of antitrust populism will harm U.S. companies and consumers to the benefit of foreign rivals.
With the nomination of Lina Khan to the FTC, it will be critical that President Biden’s next FTC appointment reflect mainstream antitrust thinking.
For more on these issues, see:
- Aurelien Portuese and Joshua Wright, “Antitrust Populism: Towards a Taxonomy,” Stanford Journal of Law, Business & Finance, Vol. 21, No. 1, March 2020.
- Robert D. Atkinson, “How Progressives Have Spun Dubious Theories and Faulty Research Into a Harmful New Antitrust Doctrine” (ITIF, coming March 10, 2021).
The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute focusing on the intersection of technological innovation and public policy. Recognized by its peers in the think tank community as the global center of excellence for science and technology policy, ITIF’s mission is to formulate and promote policy solutions that accelerate innovation and boost productivity to spur growth, opportunity, and progress.