For example, a dictionary definition of antitrust is:

: of, relating to, or being legislation against or opposition to trusts or combinations; specifically : consisting of laws to protect trade and commerce from unlawful restraints and monopolies or unfair business practices

What would legislation that either actively promoted monopolies or repealed previous antitrust legislation be called? I'm looking for a single word that can be used as an adjective.

Monopoly is not the correct term, I don't think, as if I were to say "the government recently voted on additional monopoly laws" that does not exclude antitrust laws.

  • I hope this is on topic here, apologies if not. I also considered asking on Law although antitrust seems to come up more often in political discussions as opposed to legal ones, at least in casual conversation, and I believe it to be more of a matter of government policy. – Jason C Apr 4 '17 at 21:30
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    This might be a better fit on English Language & Usage, since it's really a language question. On the other hand, we do have a terminology tag, so it's not actually off-topic here. – Bobson Apr 4 '17 at 22:09
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    @Bobson That's a good idea; I have decided to give this a little bit of time here, and then I will request a migration. – Jason C Apr 4 '17 at 22:20
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    It seems to me that this question is on-topic here. It's about a political process. It might also be a good fit for English L&U (I don't contribute there very often, so not 100% sure), but a question can be on-topic on multiple sites. – user11249 Apr 4 '17 at 23:06
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    I am satisfied with the answers below and have decided that a migration is not necessary. Thanks for all the answers and thoughts! – Jason C Apr 5 '17 at 14:57

The opposite is definitely monopoly. What's confusing is there's two types of antonyms

  1. Direct opposites (i.e. left and right)
  2. The presence and absence of something (i.e. light and dark, where dark refers to the absence of light)

Monopolies are the latter. They are the default way things work. They are a natural product of Free Market Capitalism, which itself is the natural economic system. Governments tend to regulate the Free Market, and they tend to ensure monopolies don't exist by passing antitrust laws. Therefore, when talking law and politics, you have to talk in terms of what is, or is not, permitted by law.

I'm looking for a single word that can be used as an adjective.

I don't know that such a word exists (major props to SJuan76 for his attempt). The problem is you have to describe how you got to the monopoly from a legal standpoint. If someone were to commit a murder (restricted by all governments everywhere) and not be prosecuted, you would have to describe how you evaded the law. So you either have to describe exempting an institution from antitrust laws (implicitly creating a monopoly)

The US government exempted Major League Baseball from antitrust laws, effectively giving it a monopoly.

or forbidding competition (explicitly creating a monopoly)

The US government forbids private companies from delivering mail for profit, granting the US Postal Service a monopoly.

I'm not sure there's a more succinct way to describe either.

  • The lack of an actual word sort of explains why "pro-trust" only gets a measly few thousand Google hits and is usually in implied air-quotes, or always seems forced. It's interesting that there doesn't seem to be a good word, I guess it's because of e.g. SJuan76's point, "To be honest, I do not recall a single instance of a government doing this" -- i.e. not really a high-demand word. And if a government did do that I guess it's always talked about in the context of a lot of other philosophies, and you'd end up using the appropriate wider -ism instead. – Jason C Apr 5 '17 at 14:47
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    @JasonC Yeah, the Germans kinda beat us in this department. Don't have a word? Just make a really, really long compound word – Machavity Apr 5 '17 at 14:52

I would say that, even if both measures work in the same general direction, "repeal previous antitrust legislation" and "actively promotes monopolies" should have two different terms, even if the general direction is the same.

For the "repeal previous antitrust legislation", it could be classified as a Laissez-faire1 approach to competition. Let the market sort it out, do not allow the government to take action against business getting stronger, anti-competitive practices, mergers and cartels.

I have also seen the removal (or reduction or limitation) of monopoly/competition controls expression being used sometimes.

For the "actively promotes monopolies", again two situations:

  • the government directly or indirectly2 establishes the monopoly. This is easy, establishment (or concession) of monopoly status.

  • the government desires a monopoly but does not directly establish it, and instead enacts legislation making it a logical consequence. To be honest, I do not recall a single instance of a government doing this. Which makes sense; monopolies have a tendency to become very powerful players and any state or leader that decides that they need/want a monopoly is more likely to directly decide who will become the monopolist. That way they win a leverage (for good or for bad) that they would not have otherwise.

1Although the laissez-faire doctrine can be applied to other parts of the economy, like relationships between employers and workers and many others. So the need to specify that we are talking about the competition between business aspect.

2Sometimes, especially in countries with less public control of the government, the government can make a corporation a de facto monopoly by strangling its competition, even if there is public support for competition. But I would still use the same term for that situation.

  • As a matter of fact, I agree that Machavity answer is definitely better than mine, so do not worry at all. Thanks anyway. – SJuan76 Apr 5 '17 at 15:02

This probably isn't an official antonym but I think Socialism or Communism (or legislation of that sort) would be the strongest opposite of an antitrust. In that case the state has a monopoly on business.

If you are looking for policy that gives private entities a monopoly then perhaps you should consider mercantilism. While it does not technically guarantee that private companies will form monopolies, it in practice does end up with the state giving private companies mandates that lead directly to monopolies. A great example of this would be the Dutch East India Company, which held a monopoly on the spice trade for a long time due to its government mandates.

  • @downvoters why downvote? – David says Reinstate Monica Apr 4 '17 at 23:21
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    I'm a down voter. Socialism and communism are not opposites of anti-trust. You admit this upfront, but it's the entire point of the question. Beyond that, whether a socialist or communist policy regime would support anti-trust laws or not doesn't matter. – indigochild Apr 5 '17 at 0:12
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    @indigochild I said its not official, but its as close as you're going to get I think. There is no dictionary antonym to antitrust. You can look that up... in a dictionary :). – David says Reinstate Monica Apr 5 '17 at 0:23

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