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Free the Market!: Why Only Government Can Keep the Marketplace Competitive Hardcover – April 16, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover (April 16, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591842468
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591842460
  • Product Dimensions: 1.6 x 6.1 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,650,206 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Beginning in the late nineteenth century, Congress enacted a series of measures, known as antitrust laws, designed to protect consumers from monopolies and collusion among competitors that undermine the fairness of the marketplace. Though enforced haphazardly, these laws set the rules of competition in a free-market economy until the early 1980s, when government policy makers under Ronald Reagan began to dismantle antitrust enforcement and adopt more “business-friendly” procedures based on the conservative notion that all markets will self-correct when government simply gets out of the way. Reback, one of the nation’s most prominent antitrust attorneys, recounts many of the major court cases that he was involved in, including the breakup of AT&T, early cases of software copyright infringement, and the “trial of the century,” the federal lawsuit against Microsoft. By demonstrating how rampant price-fixing and hidden fees in everything from high-speed Internet access, wireless phone service, and cable providers to travel and financial services have stifled competition and produced higher-priced but inferior products and services for consumers, Reback makes the case for seriously reconsidering the laissez-faire approach to antitrust enforcement. --David Siegfried

About the Author

Gary L. Reback is one of the nation's most prominent antitrust attorneys, best known for spearheading the efforts that led to the federal lawsuit against Microsoft. He has been named one of the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America by the National Law Journal and is quoted regularly by major media. He is currently of counsel with Carr & Ferrell LLP.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By ladyjazz17 on May 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Free the Market! is a fascinating account that shows why Silicon Valley (and other) entrepreneurs and innovators need more than self-regulating markets to help them succeed. For the past three decades, monopolists have blocked or made life difficult for some great firms, and harmed consumers in the process by limiting their choices. There are many illuminating examples throughout the book - they include, among others, a riveting account of what happened to Netscape, and how the mega-mergers of AT&T/SBC and Verizon/MCI made all of us much poorer as a result of those mergers, literally as well as figuratively.

An excellent book, very well-written and clear, with entertaining vignettes along the way!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Abigail Slater on April 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is thoughtful, well researched, and fluently written. Whether the reader agrees with his position on antitrust enforcement and Chicago School economics or not, Reback has clearly walked the walk throughout his long career as an antitrust practitioner. His viewpoint therefore deserves careful review and consideration by anyone involved in the antitrust field.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Adam Thierer on September 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Gary Reback has written a book that reads like an extended love letter to antitrust law. In his world, antitrust seemingly has no costs, no downsides, no trade-offs. It is our salvation and he serves as its high prophet. Everything good that happened in the world of high-tech over the past few decades? Oh, you can thank Almighty Antitrust for that. Anything bad that happened? Well, then, clearly there just wasn't enough antitrust enforcement! That's this book in a nutshell.

There's no mention of the deadweight loss to society associated with years and years of legal wrangling that accompanies antitrust lawsuits. Reback just sweeps all that under the rug -- and why wouldn't he as an antitrust lawyer! But those costs on the economy and innovation are real. There's also no serious mention of how antitrust law has all too often been used as weapon by disgruntled marketplace competitors to hobble rivals using such legal tactics. Reback gives the same lip service to antitrust being about "protecting consumers" as many other defenders do, but all too often his book -- like antitrust law itself -- sounds more like a defense of certain companies, industry sectors, or old ways of doing business.

It sure would have been nice for him to address the other side of the story in a serious way.

You can read my complete review of the book at the Technology Liberation Front blog.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reader on April 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I really LOVED this book. I picked it up as soon as it came, and couldn't put it down. I found the book fascinating both from the standpoint of the history and the policy, and it was also a very good read.
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