Klein Defends Federal Intervention in Free Market

Though Microsoft may have already won the browser war with Netscape, Klein says, its omnipresent operating system still gives tremendous leverage against future innovations.

"I want to hold the door open for the next Netscape," Klein said.


The antitrust division of the Department of Justice has maintained a far lower profile in the second half of the 20th century than it did in the first 50 years--which saw the break-up of U.S. Steel and Standard Oil monopolies.

Under Klein's tenure, which began in July of 1997, the division has greatly increased its public presence.

In the year before Klein arrived, the antitrust division of the Justice Department collected $40 million in fines each year. It now collects more than $1 billion.

The division costs only $100 million to run, leading Klein to quip "if I could, I'd take us private in a second."

Critics say Klein has increased the government's influence by prosecuting what some have termed "figmentary crime"--a technical violation of the law that has no social effects.

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