How competition can be protected

Dominant digital giants are presenting the antitrust authorities with new challenges. But these can be managed – as long as competition does not become industrial policy.

Microsoft - here the French headquarters of the group - is one of the IT companies whose power is suspect to many.

WCompetition is social because it prevents market power. Despite the many possible interpretations, this is the core of Ludwig Erhard’s idea of ​​the social market economy. Erhard’s State Secretary Alfred Müller-Armack, who came up with the formula after the Second World War (and who, dear Ms. Baerbock, was not a social democrat), put it this way: “The concept of the social market economy can be defined as a regulatory idea whose goal it is to combine the free initiative on the basis of the competitive economy with a social progress secured precisely by the market economy performance. “The” social improvement “is” the greater and more general, the more one-sided income generation resulting from a special economic position is curbed by the competition become”. So competition works – in the words of the ordoliberal Franz Böhm – as an “instrument of disempowerment”.

That is why the German Law against Restraints of Competition (GWB), on which Böhm exerted great influence in the 1950s, is referred to as the “Basic Law of the Social Market Economy”. The prohibition of cartels and other restraints of competition contained in it is contained in the European treaties that were drawn up at the same time even more categorically than in the ARC. Nothing about these rules is unfashionable.