Global Price Fixing: Summing Up
Awareness of antitrust enforcement matters has entered the U.S. public's consciousness to a degree that could hardly be imagined just a decade ago. The nation's leading newspapers and magazines have many times devoted prominent space to news about price-fixing fines, trials, and related enforcement activities. Antitrust has not been as fashionable for decades, if ever.
The ground swell of popular interest is partly a response to the scandalous behavior of the conspirators, whom Joel Klein skewered as “well dressed thieves.” Their intrigues and deceptions are the stuff of racy mystery novels.1 Yet, the story of the global cartels goes beyond mere fascination with aberrant behavior. It is also high drama pregnant with ethical lessons about contemporary business and politics.
This chapter reviews the facilitating factors that give rise to these conspiracies and the major impacts that the management and prosecution of these global cartels had on the conspirators, on stockholders and customers, on the antitrust agencies, and on the politics of antitrust. The sizes of the corporate and personal penalties for price fixing are reviewed with four questions in mind. Will the corporate penalties deter future conspiracies? Is there evidence of reform of corporate governance structures that will be less hospitable to collusion? What were the ultimate impacts on companies and industries? How much did global price fixing cost society?
KeywordsCorporate Governance Corporate Penalty Prison Sentence Corporate Governance Structure Monopoly Profit
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