Markets and Democracy: the Role of Law in Curbing Economic Power that Endangers Democracy

Markets and democracy are interrelated. Pluralistic markets reinvigorate democracy. By contrast, concentrated markets with strong links between firms and ruling politicians weaken democracy. Moreover, unconstrained economic power can help authoritarian leaders to push illiberal agenda or even, as a case of Russian aggression on Ukraine suggests, provide them with funds to finance war. Therefore, there is a time to reconsider the role law plays in curbing economic power that endangers democracy. The paper will address this issue by presenting the connections between democracy and competition law, which by imposing limits on private firms actions keeps market open and thus may serve democracy. The paper will build on author’s recent findings from Central Europe which demonstrated that democratic backsliding affects competition law systems, what in turn further contributes to weakening of democracy. The role the competition agencies as Chapter IX institutions will be considered.