Review of Mark R. Patterson, Antitrust Law in the New Economy (Harvard University Press 2017)
Mark Patterson starts his book with the simple statement, “[k]nowledge is power.”1 He then leads the reader through a very well-reasoned argument that the new information age creates new abilities for dominant market players to distort the market to their advantage—this time the dominant players are the information providers, such as Google, Yelp, and others. Overall, Mark Patterson’s Antirust Law in the New Economy provides an insightful basic analysis of the impact of the new ways that data is available in the marketplace and how this availability is impacting consumer choice. Mr. Patterson’s book also provides a basic overview of consumer protection law and antitrust law. It ties together the changes in market information dynamics and how both areas of law are impacted, concluding, perhaps correctly, that antitrust law is best equipped to handle the market abuses we are seeing in the information economy. He also touches on a number of other areas, including the bases on which buyers make purchases and the information available to consumers in the marketplace.
Mr. Patterson correctly states that markets run on information and that oftentimes buyers make decisions by relying on their knowledge of the products available, while sellers decide what to produce based on their understanding of what buyers want. The marketplace—and the information available to consumers—has changed dramatically over time. Today, a significant number of consumers turn to information providers on the World Wide Web to inform them of their choices in the marketplace. Given this change in the availability of information about products and services in the marketplace as a result of the information economy, Mr. Patterson focuses on the quality and quantity of information available to consumers (as well, as for a brief moment, sellers).
Jennifer A. Manner
Senior Vice President, Regulatory Affairs at EchoStar Corporation and an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center. The views contained in this review are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of EchoStar or Georgetown.