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Free trade is the backbone of a capitalist economy and trade regulations are necessary to ensure that free trade is protected, that no business runs rampant, and that the interest of the consumer is preserved. Numerous legal acts have been passed toward these ends, including the Sherman Antitrust Act, the Wilson Act, the Clayton Act, and the Robinson-Patman Act, all designed to protect the free market system. The area of trade regulation known as anti-trust law prevents unfair trade practices like price fixing, the formation of cartels, or the merging of companies that can cause the creation of excessively powerful market forces. To learn more about what anti-trust laws entail, the various trade regulation acts involved, and why competition among businesses is protected, explore the links in this section.