After thirty years, the debate over antitrust's ideology has quieted. Most w agree that the protection of consumer welfare should be the only goal of antitrust laws. Execution, however, is ather matter. The rules of antitrust remain unfocused, insufficiently precise, and excessively complex. The problem of poorly designed rules is severe, because in the short run rules weigh much more heavily than principles. At bottom, antitrust is a defensible enterprise only if it can make the microecomy work better, after accounting for the considerable costs of operating the system.
Herbert Hovenkamp is Ben V. and Dorothy Willie Professor of Law and History, University of Iowa College of Law.