FTC's Early Consumer Protection Challenges Endure

Law360, New York (March 7, 2016, 9:19 AM EST) -- The 1914 creation of the Federal Trade Commission was a radical step to address tensions in the economy. Not only was it one of the first regulatory agencies in America, the FTC was also granted nearly comprehensive jurisdiction and a broad, undefined mandate to police competition. To understand the FTC, we have to situate ourselves in the tensions of turn-of-the-century American economy. The country was rapidly changing from an agricultural to an industrial economy. A growing disconnection between creators and buyer of products created new consumer protection problems. Industries with high barriers to entry and industries that enjoyed network effects could manipulate prices and bend others to their will. The individual could sense a threat to their livelihood and social condition, but not understand the broader implications of industrialization....

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