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47 Ecology L. Currents 219 (2020)

handle is hein.journals/ecolwcur47 and id is 1 raw text is: COLLUDING TO SAVE THE WORLD: HOW
ANTITRUST LAWS DISCOURAGE
CORPORATIONS FROM TAKING ACTION ON
CLIMATE CHANGE
Paul Balmer
The loftiest of purported motivations do not excuse anti-competitive
collusion among rivals. That's long-standing antitrust law.1 So begins a USA
Today opinion piece by Makan Delrahim, Assistant Attorney General and head
of the Antitrust Division. Delrahim was defending a Department of Justice (DOJ)
investigation into four major automakers who had recently announced they
would continue to meet California's fuel efficiency standards even as the Trump
Administration moved to roll back higher efficiency standards at the federal
level.2 The agreement between the automakers will likely lead to higher prices
for consumers, which-regardless of other positive benefits-could be illegal
under antitrust law. But should it be?
This debate about the goals of our antitrust laws emerges at a critical
inflection point in competition law and corporation law generally. Corporations
have emerged as powerful voices for social and political change, flexing
lobbying muscle and changing their own behaviors to create policy impact on
issues like gun control, anti-discrimination protection, and climate change. This
increased action has led to formal acknowledgement that shareholder profit need
not be the driving force of corporate decision making, reversing decades of focus
on shareholder primacy.3 At the same time, a growing body of literature critiques
Copyright © 2020 by Paul Balmer.
1. Makan Delrahim, DOJ Antitrust Division: Popular Ends Should Not Justify Anti-Competitive
Collusion, USA TODAY (Sept. 12, 2019), https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2019/09/12/doj-
antitrust-division-popular-ends-dont-justify-collusion-editorials-debates/2306078001/.
2. Juliet Eilperin & Steven Mufson, Justice Dept. Launches Antitrust Probe of Automakers Over
Their  Fuel Efficiency  Deal  With  California, WASHINGTON  POsT  (Sept. 6, 2019),
https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/justice-dept-launches-antitrust-probe-of-
automakers-over-their-fuel-efficiency-deal-with-california/2019/09/06/29a22ee6-dc7-1e9-b29b-
a528dc82154a_story.html.
3. David Gelles & David Yaffe-Ballany, Shareholder Value Is No Longer Everything, Top
C.E.O.s Say, N.Y. TIMES (Aug. 19, 2019), https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/19/business/business-
roundtable-ceos-corporations.html.

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