Harper Academic

Competition Overdose

How Free Market Mythology Transformed Us from Citizen Kings to Market Servants

by Maurice E. Stucke, Ariel Ezrachi

On Sale: 03/17/2020

Price: $32.50

Competition Overdose

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Competition Overdose

How Free Market Mythology Transformed Us from Citizen Kings to Market Servants

by Maurice E. Stucke, Ariel Ezrachi

On Sale: 03/17/2020


Price: $32.50

About the Book

Using dozens of vivid examples to show how society overprescribed competition as a solution and when unbridled rivalry hurts consumers, kills entrepreneurship, and increases economic inequality, two free-market thinkers diagnose the sickness caused by competition overdose and provide remedies that will promote sustainable growth and progress for everyone, not just wealthy shareholders and those at the top.

Whatever illness our society suffers, competition is the remedy. Do we want better schools for our children? Cheaper prices for everything? More choices in the marketplace? The answer is always: Increase competition.

Yet, many of us are unhappy with the results. We think we’re paying less, but we’re getting much less. Our food has undeclared additives (or worse), our drinking water contains toxic chemicals, our hotel bills reveal surprise additions, our kids’ schools are failing, our activities are tracked so that advertisers can target us with relentless promotions. All will be cured, we are told, by increasing the competitive pressure and defanging the bloated regulatory state.

In a captivating exposé, Maurice E. Stucke and Ariel Ezrachi show how we are falling prey to greed, chicanery, and cronyism. Refuting the almost religious belief in rivalry as the vehicle for prosperity, the authors identify the powerful corporations, lobbyists, and lawmakers responsible for pushing this toxic competition—and argue instead for a healthier, even nobler, form of competition.

Competition Overdose diagnoses the disease—and provides a cure for it.

Critical Praise

Stucke and Ezrachi’s analysis of the nature of competition is refreshingly non-ideological and counterintuitive. Their idea that competition can be either toxic or noble—all depending on how governments structure markets—is something so clear that it’s remarkable it’s taken us decades to recognize the wisdom of it. This is a must-read for anyone interested in how to use public policy to harness the competitive drive for the public good. — Chris Hughes, cofounder of Facebook

Stucke and Ezrachi show us the important differences between destructive and noble competition and what we can do to pursue a more just and prosperous world. This book changes how you will view the role of the market in our economy and society at large. — Spencer Weber Waller, director of the Institute for Consumer Antitrust Studies and law professor at Loyola University Chicago

Entertaining and thought-provoking, Competition Overdose fiercely articulates the raw, hard truth behind the toxic aspects of competition. — Tommaso Valletti, professor of economics at Imperial College London and Chief Competition Economist (2016–2019), European Commission

Competition Overdose is probably the most important book to be published on the subject since The Antitrust Paradox hit the bookshelves in 1978. It is destined to transform how governments across the world think about the role competition in domestic and international policy for decades to come. Stucke and Ezrachi are the new rock stars of competition policy. — Ali Nikpay, partner at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

Anything, in the wrong dosage, can be poisonous. Competition Overdose takes a sacred cow of contemporary western thought—that ‘more competition is always good’—and reveals that while competition can be noble, it can also be toxic. An engaging and compelling read that will make you think differently about situations we all deal with every day. — Tim Wu, professor at Columbia Law School, contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, and author of The Master Switch and The Attention Merchants

A must-read for anyone concerned about the future of our economy and society, Competition Overdose provides a no-nonsense analysis of how toxic competition can be bad for competitors, consumers, workers, and society overall. The authors highlight the abuses of this ideology and remind us that we, as citizens and consumers, can exercise our power by choosing products, based on our values. — Monique Goyens, director general of BEUC, The European Consumer Organisation

This beautifully written book helps us rethink economic principles from the ground up. As any good chemist knows, what can be helpful or harmless in small doses is deadly in excess. While technocrats push competition as a cure to all economic ailments, Stucke and Ezrachi deliver a dose of reality: cutthroat schemes to kneecap rivals, manipulate customers, and exploit workers harm far more than they help. Read this book for a brilliant account of the proper place of competition (and ethics) in society. — Frank Pasquale, law professor at University of Maryland and author of The Black Box Society

Stucke and Ezrachi examine a multitude of perversities in today’s society—colleges striving to recruit applicants they likely will reject, supermarkets stocking hundreds of varieties of jam, travel deals stuffed with hidden fees—and provide a unifying explanation: a misalignment of competition. Their book illuminates how competition can go wrong, and how individuals, businesses, and the government can set it right. — Jonathan Levin, dean of Stanford Graduate School of Business

Is more competition the solution to all our societal problems? Stucke and Ezrachi persuasively say: No, it depends; sometimes we need to rein in markets because they produce socially inferior outcomes. This book shows that the promotion of competition cannot be an end in of itself, but rather it should be used as a tool to improve overall welfare. Between too much and too little competition, the safest option is, as always, the ‘aurea mediocritas’” — Jorge Padilla, senior managing director and head of Compass Lexecon, Europe

Stucke and Ezrachi ask critical questions about what types of rivalry are desirable and who benefits when all domains of society are governed by principles of unfettered competition. Countering simplistic prescriptions, Competition Overdose is a perceptive and timely read. — Lina Khan, author of Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox

Competition Overdose is a courageous, timely attempt by two formidable legal scholars to unpack—and in some cases demolish—the dominant shibboleth of our age: the delusion that ‘more competition’ is the remedy for many social or economic ills. Should be required reading for every course in public policy. — John Naughton, professor at University of Cambridge and technology columnist for the London Observer

The authors draw skillfully on a wide range of disciplines, from economics to psychology, to help us understand why more competition is not always all that it’s cracked up to be. They provide support for a more humane, nobler form of competition and wider corporate purpose, debunking the myths of shareholder value and blind faith in markets. This is a must-read. — Simon Holmes, UK Competition Appeal Tribunal

Because competition has been sold for centuries as an unbridled positive, reading this book requires counterintuitive thinking and an open mind. Using a lucid, conversational style, the authors thoroughly explain each case study and anecdote. Does competition regularly result in a race to the bottom? Yes, the authors maintain, and they present ideas about how to achieve what they term ‘noble competition,’ in which sellers, buyers, and society at large all benefit. — Kirkus Reviews


Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062892836
  • ISBN 10: 0062892835
  • Imprint: Harper Business
  • On Sale: 03/17/2020
  • Trimsize: 6.000 in (w) x 9.000 in (h) x 1.290 in (d)
  • Pages: 416
  • List Price: $32.50
  • BISAC1 : POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Economic Policy
  • BISAC2 : BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Business Ethics
  • BISAC3 : BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Knowledge Capital