A tight, progressive reasoning for the exercise of antitrust labor market protection.

HOW ANTITRUST FAILED WORKERS

University of Chicago Law School professor Posner argues that antitrust law should be as vigorously applied to the labor market as the product market.

Labor market power means the power to suppress wages below the competitive rate, whereas product market power means the power to raise prices above the competitive rate. Product market power is typically seen in a monopoly situation and has been pursued legally more often than that of labor market power, known in the legal profession as monopsony. “A labor market is monopsonistic,” writes the author, “to the extent that any of these factors [job search costs, market concentration, etc.] enable firms to pay workers below the competitive rate.” In this concise treatment of the subject, mostly free of tangled legalese, Posner notes that the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission “have never challenged a merger because of its possible anticompetitive effects on labor markets, or even rigorously analyzed the labor market effects of mergers as they do for product market effects.” Due to these circumstances, there has been an erosion of labor and employment law and employer liability as well as a decline in unionization due to foreign competition, union-busting governmental practices, and deregulation. When the residual labor supply elasticity is low, the author explains, wages will be suppressed. At this point, he makes clear, “workers need protection.” Posner delves into the wide variety of thorny issues involved in bringing law to bear on worker protection, including the difficulty in “identifying collusion in labor markets.” The author makes a solid case that existing antitrust law could easily be applied to labor with a few reforms, including wage boards, government subsidization of wages, job protection, and subsidized work training. For example, he notes, “job-retraining programs that teach relatively general skills may facilitate occupational mobility.”

A tight, progressive reasoning for the exercise of antitrust labor market protection.

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-19-750762-9

Page Count: 216

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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A cogent overview of the court’s crucial role, the application of which is sure to be discussed among scholars.

THE AUTHORITY OF THE COURT AND THE PERIL OF POLITICS

Why the Supreme Court deserves the public’s trust.

Based on his 2021 lecture at Harvard Law School, Supreme Court Justice Breyer offers a selected history of court cases, a defense of judicial impartiality, and recommendations for promoting the public’s respect for and acceptance of the role of the judiciary in the future. The author regrets that many Americans see the justices as “unelected political officials or ‘junior varsity’ politicians themselves, rather than jurists,” asserting that “nearly all” justices apply “the basic same interpretive tools” to decide a case: “They will consider the statute’s text, its history, relevant legal tradition, precedents, the statute’s purposes (or the values that underlie it), and the relevant consequences.” Although Breyer maintains that all try to avoid the influence of ideology or political philosophy, he acknowledges that suggesting “a total and clean divorce between the Court and politics is not quite right either,” since a justice’s background, education, and experiences surely affect their views, especially when considering the consequences of a decision. The judicial process, Breyer explains, begins as a conference held once or twice each week where substantive discussion leads to preliminary conclusions. Sometimes, in order to find a majority, the court will take a minimalist perspective, allowing those who differ “on the broader legal questions to come together in answering narrower ones.” Noting that, in 2016, only 1 in 4 Americans could name the three branches of federal government, Breyer suggests a revival of civics education in schools so that students can learn how government works and what the rule of law is. He believes that confidence in government will result from citizens’ participation in public life: by voting, taking part in local governance such as school boards, and resolving their differences through argument, debate, cooperation, and compromise, all of which are “the embodiment of the democratic ideal.”

A cogent overview of the court’s crucial role, the application of which is sure to be discussed among scholars.

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-674-26936-1

Page Count: 104

Publisher: Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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