Barry Lynn explains that a monopolist doesn't have to control 100% of a market. With the US having thousands of markets controlled as monopolies, we suffer the Economics of Destruction.
What monopoly means is that a company has sufficient control of the market to shape the outcomes of that market to its own advantage — to shape pricing, to determine who is making deals of with whom.
So what we have in America is that there are actually very few marketplaces in which you have a single company that has complete, 100 percent control. But what you do have is many marketplaces, thousands of markets, in which you have a dominant player that really controls commerce in that activity.
... Barry Lynn. A senior fellow at the New America Foundation, where he directs the Markets, Enterprise, and Resiliency Initiative, Lynn's influential writings on the extreme consolidation of power in the U.S. are a roadmap to a new and virulent strain of capitalism. His most recent book, Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism and the Economics of Destruction is a chilling look at growing consolidation in nearly every industry in America.
... the people who have actually preached the doctrine of free markets, this last generation, when you go back and look at it historically, is that the idea of free markets really comes out of the Chicago School, the libertarian wing of academia. They were preaching free markets, but when they would preach free markets, they also preached the elimination of all regulation. But when you eliminate all regulation you end up with no markets at all, because you end up with monopolists, and monopolists are the antithesis of an open market.
Monopolists buy politicians a dime a dozen, and they write laws to preserve their power.
... monopolists are increasingly controlling our lives...
Monopolies affect us in innumerable ways. The most obvious way ... is that monopolies usually have the power to raise the price in some activity, for some good, for some service.
But monopolists also have the capacity to reduce our liberties.
A third way that monopolies affect us is ... surging inequality in our society. [emphasis mine]
...extreme consolidation of power in the U.S. are a roadmap to a new and virulent strain of capitalism.
This is not new; capitalism has always been virulent.
Before England's "Bloodless Revolution" in 1688, monarchs regularly sold monopolies to their favorites. In that Revolution, Commons took from monarchs all but the power to advise. I don't know if Commons took the monopoly power.
In the late 1800s Congress tried to curb monopolies but the Supreme Court interpreted restraint of trade laws to prohibit labor unions. This led to decades of violence, including the wholesale murder by gunfire of workers and their families.
In the 1970s, President Nixon ordered Attorney-General John Mitchell to ignore monopolies.
IMO, only employee ownership (real ownership, including profit/loss sharing and not just employee stock ownership) will put a crimp into capitalism's excesses. Harvard Business Review acknowledged this in the early 1970s.
Tom, I agree, "only employee ownership (real ownership, including profit/loss sharing and not just employee stock ownership) will put a crimp into capitalism's excesses"
The corrupt Salinas Gortari regime in Mexico, ending with President Carlos in exile in Ireland and his brother Raul in prison for conspiracy to murder an attorney-general, was expert at selling off state monopolies. The most glaring was the sale of Tel-Mex, the biggest monopoly in Mexico, to the eponymous Carlos -- Slim Hlu, an enterprising Lebanese-Mexican who happens to have become possibly the richest man in the world, a multi-billionaire. When land lines started going the way of the typewriter, Slim started selling cell phones and satellite time. He virtually owns Mexico.
Well, the patterns are clear. Now, how to break the spell of "free markets" "eliminate regulation", and "monopolies" offer savings by bulk buying. These seem to be perceived as desired situations. Wake up USA.
Too late, Joan.
Oh Ruth, I am so happy to read this article because it echoes the writers I have been reading and they all make much better sense than the mumbo-jumbo that comes in written form or on TV. Barry Lynn describes the economic situation as I understand it. Because it tells such a different story that commercial news, it means we have to recognize what is really happening and then strategize to reduce the risks for us personally, and politically.
Thanks so much.
@Joan. This pesky software will not allow me to reply directly to your statement about employee ownership. Yes yes yes! This is sometimes called anarcho-syndialism (with a little "a"). I am all for it. It is the natural progression of Justice Scalia's characterization of corporations as persons. Let's take him at his word, by all means.
I have never heard the term "anarcho-syndialism" and just watched and read several items about it.
Do you mean that by Justice Scalia's characterization of corporations as persons means wage-workers have a right to profits under Scalia's terms? what am I missing here?
I got the idea reading Noam Chomsky. He advocates A-S. (No, the economic idea, not the illness). I did minimal research, frankly, but the idea as I see is is to make each person working for the corporation a voter in decisions made by the corporation. The officers come from the workers and share their duties so that ossified people and ideas cannot survive. There's more to it, I am sure. What I meant was, if corporations are people, it could only be in such a structure. Corporations are legal fictions as they are composed today. They only exist on paper.
James, I've seen the a-s term and figured a capitalist coined it to terrify Americans of employee ownership.
Before Californians voted a century ago to add an initiative-referendum provision to the state constitution, opponents tried to defeat it by calling it socialistic.
The Arizona statehood folks added the provision because they wanted to avoid the corruption they saw in eastern states.