America Has a Monopoly Problem

Summary of 2017 article by Joseph Stiglitz on concentrated corporate power in America

The Bosses of the Sentate, political cartoon, 1889

There is a widespread sense of powerlessness, both in our economic and political life. We seem no longer to control our own destinies. If we don’t like our Internet company or our cable TV, we either have no place to turn, or the alternative is no better. Monopoly corporations are the primary reason that drug prices in the United States are higher than anywhere else in the world. Whether we like it or not, a company like Equifax can gather data about us, and then blithely take insufficient cybersecurity measures, exposing half the country to the risk of identity fraud, and then charge us for but a partial restoration of the security that we had before a major breach.

America has been here before

Laws to ensure competition in the marketplace were based on the belief that concentrations of economic power inevitably would lead to concentrations in political power.

Affects of lackluster antitrust enforcement in America

Microsoft monopoly

Conclusion

Making markets work-reforming our economy so that it looks more like the competitive market ideal of the college textbook-requires a comprehensive agenda. I have already described how the new high-tech firms have been innovative in avoiding taxes, extracting rents from all sides of the market, and entrenching their market power. We need, consequently, corresponding innovation on the public side.

Remedy ideas from the article

Engineer, writer and community organizer. I built Employbl to help candidates get jobs in the Bay Area: https://employbl.com/

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