Kicking Off the Late 20th Century Regulatory Revolution by Jack Pearce


A revolution spread through public utility economic regulation in the last three decades of the 20th century. The design was to rely more on competitive market forces to set prices and terms of services. Some state owned enterprises were privatized. Some regulatory agencies were abolished. Most were reoriented to foster more competition. Such economic ‘deregulation’ spread over much of the globe.

Significant improvement in prices and services resulted in some functions and countries. In others economic gains were slow to arrive and the ‘marketization” process grinds on in the 21st century.

The author of this book was among those who led initiatives in the United States, in transportation and communications, starting from his placement in the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice, and continued in the private practice of law. This book outlines how the regulatory revolution got its first major embodiment, in transportation, and spread from there.

Competitive policy itself has evolved in recent decades. Some feel that antitrust law enforcement has become too loose, and the American economy too “concentrated” in structure. The rapid transformations in information technologies have given rise to new firms, new markets, and new concerns. Chapter 10 in this book addresses some fundamentals in these situations.


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