The Antitrust Significance of Trade Association Activities
Polomsky, John V., II
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What follows is an attempt to present some of the key legal and economic issues surrounding the activities of trade associations. These activities will be examined in light of the provisions of the major American antitrust law, the Sherman Act of 1890. The corpus of antitrust law--legislative enactments, rulings of courts and regulatory agencies--is massive. And so too is the variety of business and commercial activities which fall within its purview. This creates grave difficulties for the researcher intent, as I was, upon investigating a specific issue in this corpus within a very limited period. The primary demand as I saw it was to pick a problem sufficiently narrow so as to allow a fairly thorough treatment of it. And this investigation only after several weeks of exploratory reading in the field. What follows is a very compact issue. I hope it is also fairly thoroughly treated. My method is as follows. After a brief explanation of the concept of the trade association, the paper moves to a consideration of the key trade association cases decided by the Supreme Court. These sections are followed by an attempt to summarize the law on trade associations and an analysis of this law from the perspective of the economic concept of workable competition.