The Market Institute has a new paper on the Federal Trade Commission and Chair Lina Khan’s interpretations of “fairness” in the context of competition in the economy. .

November 10, 2022, marked a significant day in American regulatory history because the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released its “Policy Statement Regarding Unfair Methods of Competition Under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act.” Behind this wonky title is a dramatic reinterpretation and expansion of the FTC’s authority. The agency based this expansion on a revised interpretation of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, which tasks the agency with punishing businesses who engage in “unfair” methods of competition. 

In the policy document, as well as other public speeches, FTC Chair Lina Khan cites legislative history stating members of Congress gave her agency the authority to punish “unfair” business practices because they wanted the power to outlaw practices that were not prohibited under the existing Sherman and Clayton Antitrust Acts.

FTC Chair Lina Khan has seized on the agency’s statutory mandate to punish “unfair” business practices to justify her expanding usage of federal antitrust laws into a grant of authority for the FTC to second-guess and block any business decision that violates the FTC’s board sense of “fairness.” 

See the one pager highlights.


Find the full paper below.

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