The orthodoxies of competition law and its remit, already under siege, have been further challenged by the health crisis. In particular, the traditional notion of consumer welfare was already being criticized as too price-focused, without taking proper account of other competition factors like innovation, quality, and long-term investment.
During the recovery, with even more reliance on “free” technology, plus new concerns around access to essential products and the impact on employment and other social goods, competition policy is tasked with more urgently addressing its perceived deficiencies in the face of attempts to take advantage of the crisis.
When businesses think about the competition rules, they will need to think more broadly, in a way that we haven’t seen before. Price may need to make more room for innovation, sustainability, the environment, employment, privacy and social and economic inequality which have become the focus of political agendas.