Competition and Professional Ethics

by Richard J. Favretto, Deputy Dir. of Operations; Antitrust Div., U.S. Dept. of Justice, Washington, D.C.,

Serial Information: Issues in Engineering: Journal of Professional Activities, 1979, Vol. 105, Issue 3, Pg. 137-142

Document Type: Journal Paper


The relationship between professional ethical standards and the antitrust laws has undergone important changes in recent years. No longer are learned professions perceived as exempt from antitrust. The previously accepted argument that competition among professionals is itself unreasonable was rejected by the Supreme Court in 1975. As a result, the overall competitive effect of professional standards will be the ultimate determining factor concerning applicability of the antitrust laws. Changes have also occurred in the judicial view of antitrust exemptions. Mere state involvement is no longer sufficient to confer an antitrust exemption. Utilization by professions of the power to regulate delegated by the state is particularly suspect. It is clear that professionals must be keenly aware of the antitrust laws in developing professional standards, for they are unlikely to receive special treatment under those laws in the future.

Subject Headings: Ethics

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