Competition law is best seen as a form of public law – ‘the law that
governs the governing of the state – and not as simply a form of
private market regulation. This is because capitalist economies are
in fact much more variegated than the orthodox model of competition
law presumes, and this in turn demands a form of regulation that is
innately political rather than simply technical. Orthodox competition
regimes address this complexity by segregating non-standard
capitalisms into alternative doctrinal jurisprudences, but this
renders conceptually invisible the essential political balancing that
these different forms of capitalism, and their different dynamics of
competition, require and provoke. Recognizing that competition law is
ultimately a form of public law allows us to visualize this inevitably
process of political balancing, and thereby begin to address the
issues it raises.
Michael W. Dowdle is an Assistant Professor of Law on the National
University of Singapore Faculty of Law. He previously held the Chair
in Globalization and Governance at Sciences Po in Paris (2007-2008).
His publications include Asian Capitalism and the Regulation of
Competition: Towards a Regulatory Geography of Global Competition Law
(Cambridge University Press, 2013) (lead editor, with John Gillespie &
Imelda Maher), from which this talk derives inspiration.