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Police power and corporate power...making the connections

Judge Richard Posner, who recently granted Chicago police increased power to spyon and disrupt activists in also a proponent of unlimited corporate power. It's important for activists to understand these connections (and contradictions) if we are to understand the power of the state in defending corporate power and the power of the corporations in defining the role of the state.

The recent 7th Circuit ruling, which gave the go ahead to Chicago police to openly resume political spying (and disruption of constitutionally protected activities) was written by Judge Richard Posner (a "Senior Lecturer in Law" at U of C).

According to Posner, government should be given greater power to attack dissidents, but government must not be used to limit the power of corporations and billionaires. It's important for activists to understand these connections (and contradictions) if we are to understand the power of the state in defending corporate power and the power of the corporations in defining the role of the state.

Posner has written a number of books (including "Antitrust Law: An Economic Perspective", "Economic Analysis of Law"—now in its fifth edition—and "The Economics of Justice") and many articles exploring the application of free market economics to law. For example, concerning the Microsoft antitrust case Posner wrote that "the public interest would be served by avoiding further litigation, with its potential for unsettling a key industry in the global economy". (www.microsoft.com/malaysia/press/linkpage1775.htm)

He has proposed and sought to test the theory that the common law is best explained as if the judges were trying to promote "economic efficiency". He has urged "wealth maximization" as a goal of legal and social policy.

Up until the late 1970s, U.S. antitrust law was characterized by the pursuit of two (sometimes conflicting?) goals: protecting consumers from monopolies and price fixing, and protecting small businesses from larger competitors. Posner's book and a similar volume by Judge Robert Bork ("The Antitrust Paradox") laid the theoretical groundwork for a seminal shift in antitrust thinking--one focusing primarily on "consumer welfare". In "Antitrust Economics", Posner lays out why some types of economic behavior that up until then had been considered anticompetitive (e.g. mergers between competitors, exclusive supplier arrangements) can actually be good, i.e. "pro-consumer". For example, while retail behemoths such as WalMart or mergers like that between Daimler-Benz and Chrysler may be devastating to smaller competitors, Posner argues benefit consumers by generating economies of scale and lower prices. In "Economics of Justice" Posner promoted "ethical wealth maximization" as an alternative to Kantian ethics and utilitarian thought.

Posner also engaged in private consulting and was from 1977 to 1981 the first president of Lexecon Inc., a firm made up of lawyers and economists that provides economic and legal research and support to corporations in antitrust, securities, and other litigation. Lexecon Inc. has assisted Lincoln Savings and Loan in perpretrating fraud on investors and regulators (see law-phoenix.uchicago.edu//features/1006milberg.html), and worked for junk-bond financier Michael Milken.

see also:
www.law.uchicago.edu/faculty/posner-r/

www.src.uchicago.edu/users/gsb1/Rational/posnerbio.html
 
 

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