Beyond antitrust: the anti-monopoly movement and what it stands for

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B-But Andrew Yang told me I’d be forced to use the world’s 4th best navigation app! I don’t want that! \s

found a source with some responses to Yang, including the clapback from Warren that were it not for anti-trust, Bing would be the only option…


Those poor [M]Billionaires, got’a really feel sorry for them.


Broken link?

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The “anti-monopoly” argument was the intellectual foundation for union busting as well as trust busting.

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I think I am a good deal more enthusiastic about regulating businesses than most people. But this drive to frame that exclusively in terms of “monopolies” furrows my brow. At best it sounds like unimaginative when-you-only-have-a-hammerism; at worst, a calculated neoliberal placebo.

Some companies are indeed toxic monopolies or monopsonies. Funnily enough, the most glaring example – Amazon – is not mentioned nearly as often in this connection as Apple or Facebook. Which is weird because you’d think that authors – most of whose income flows through Amazon – would be extra-familiar with the subject.

But when we’re talking about how to kerb the problem behavior of Apple, or Facebook, or Uber, or pharmaceutical companies, monopoly seems like an extremely odd lens through which to look at that. Because what does Apple have a monopoly on? What does Facebook have a monopoly on?

(Actually, Apple has been successfully prosecuted under antitrust law, over abuses relating to… book sales. That’s not a typo. Amazon has never been looked at by regulators; Apple was convicted of abusing their dominance of the book market. Make of that what you will).

The solution to Uber is not to “break it up”; the solution is unions and robust labor protections and licensing and local government that has the will and the wherewithal to say “no, you can’t run your business in a way that harms our city”.

The solution to Apple is right-to-repair legislation.

The solution to Facebook is… well, this forum doesn’t have enough pixels, but IMO the nub of it concerns some pretty extreme restrictions on advertising.

The solution to pharma assholery is to reform drug patents, institute public healthcare in the US, demand public ownership of publicly-funded research, etc., etc. (that one’s just a giant smorgasbord of ignored regulatory opportunities).

There is a literal cubic fuckton of ways we should be regulating or pushing back against businesses, and aren’t. Not just big businesses, either.

The idea that antitrust law can fix capitalism is like saying “forget about every single urgent progressive issue; what you need is to wait for companies to become huge, and then leave it to corporate lawyers to fix things for you”. It’s like something Tony Blair would say to try and win over Corbyn supporters.

A lot of Elizabeth Warren’s chat about things like putting the actual public on the boards of public companies strikes me as much more constructive in this regard. I’m aware a lot of it is science-fictional, but it at least recognises the real problem, which is not that companies are too big; it’s that they make amoral decisions and no one has the means or motive to tell them not to.

I am interested to know more


thanks! somehow a misplaced period slipped in there…

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Agreeded. Nice points but why not hit back at every level. Unions, Anti-Trust, Religious meetings. Yes, pray away the Corporate beast that’s infected everything. Runs everything. Let’s not use just one tool in the bag.

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