Fair Fight in the Marketplace 2006
Distributed by The Video Project, PO Box 411376, San Francisco, CA 94141-1376; 800-475-2638
Produced by David Donnenfeld, Kevin White, and Filmmakers Cooperative, San Francisco
Directed by David Donnenfeld and Kevin White
DVD, color, 88 min.
Jr. High - Adult
Date Entered: 05/15/2009Reviewed by Christopher Lewis, American University Library, American University
NPR commentator Mara Liasson hosts a short introduction to the history of anti-trust laws that includes recent case studies illustrating examples of price-fixing, manipulation of supply, and the bullying of competitors. Though each case study is just about seven minutes long, the viewer gains a clear understanding of how certain corrupt business practices work and how they can harm the consumer.
The first case is about executives at Archer Midland Daniels (ADM) and their marketing of a livestock and poultry feed additive called Lysine. ADM was just one of several producers of Lysine globally but they brought their competitors together, divided up the world market, and rigged the prices. The immediate impact was on the farmers who didn’t have a choice but to pay. Their costs were then passed on to the consumers in the form of higher food prices. After being caught red-handed on an FBI recording, ADM was fined $100 million by the Justice Department, although their inflated profits during the period exceeded $200 million.
The second case involves the manipulation of supplies to competitors by Mylan Pharmaceuticals thus artificially driving up prices. The third case is about the bullying tactics used by Microsoft in order to best Netscape in the internet browser war.
The tone of the film and its pacing seem best suited for a high school to undergraduate audience. Its coverage is too light for use in law school classes but it would probably be a good discussion starter on ethics in an entry-level business class.