Daisuke Wakabayashi, writing for The New York Times, buries the lede in his story about big tech’s funding of soft-gloves antitrust education:
The long era of restraint in antitrust enforcement in the United States can be traced back, in part, to an ideology that tied economic analysis to legal cases. The view was that it’s not enough for a company to dominate a market and crush competitors, there must be evidence of so-called consumer harm — usually in the form of higher prices. That notion permeated through the American judicial system with the aid of economics seminars for federal judges funded by corporate donors.
Google et al. are merely riding a wave, funded generously decades before Sergei and Larry started grad school, that placed economics at the center of U.S. antitrust policy-making.