"The Essence of Antitrust and Regulation"
Don Boudreaux summarizes the unpleasant truth about antitrust:
Antitrust began in 1889, with the enactment of a dozen or so state statutes, as an effort to protect economically inefficient but politically influential producers (chiefly, local butchers) from the competition of more economically efficient but politically less popular producers (chiefly, the newly emergent Chicago meatpackers with their newfangled refrigerated railroad cars). (See also here.) The 1890 Sherman Act, at the national level, reflected this populist reaction against market-unleashed creative destruction. The absurdity of antitrust reached its legislative zenith with the 1936 Robinson-Patman Act.