Structurally unsound : an investigation of the role of the structure of the Federal Trade Commission in the codification of neoliberal economic policy into the US code of law
Claire Sarah Ommen
May 8, 2019
Department or Program
This paper evaluates the investigation of the Federal Trade Commission into the matter of a shared monopoly held between Kellogg Company, General Mills, General Foods, and Quaker Oats between 1972 and 1982. The investigation expanded the definition monopoly and if the respondents had been found guilty, would have greatly broadened the powers of the federal government to intervene into business practices. The investigation demonstrates the shift towards neoliberalism that occurred during the same time period in the US. The outcome of this investigation is both a product of the existing intellectual, political, and ideological processes that were already underway, and served to further them. Due to the structure of the FTC, its decisions tend to push the US political economy towards the right, contributing to the fall of Keynesiansim, the rise of neoliberalism, and the perpetuation of monopoly practices. This case study illustrates the essential role that institutions of the US bureaucracy playing in the legitimation of neoliberal economy thinking, the encoding of said thinking into law, and the normalization of neoliberalism into everyday practices.