... his aim is not simply to recount it or engage in the contemporary debates over the ways monopolies warp our economy and our society; instead, he wants to spark a modern movement through real, human stories. Corporate concentration and antitrust regulation can sound like dry issues. Dayen seeks to remind us of the very real consequences they have in our everyday lives ... The stories he tells can often be heartbreaking ... While the stories Dayen offers take place all across the country, from rural areas to Los Angeles’s urban sprawl, and involve people in very different communities and careers, they have the same nugget of truth at their heart: When companies are allowed to keep consolidating, people lose ... Dayen convincingly shows, monopolies are so interwoven in our economy and our lives that there is no escape from them. But his book also highlights some of the challenges faced by a politics that is primarily focused on monopoly. If you see it everywhere without pausing to clarify what is anticompetitive behavior and what is just plain old greed, you risk having the concept lose its specific meaning.
Blending professional rigor with journalistic flair, Dayen, executive editor of the American Prospect, takes readers on a comprehensive tour of the American economy, revealing 'the collections of monopolies encircling our every move' ... Dayen grounds his portrait in vivid illustrations of how a handful of companies have the power to profoundly affect people’s daily lives ... Dayen concludes with a glimmer of hope that some of the early successes of what’s been called the 'New Brandeis' movement (named for the late Supreme Court justice, an avowed foe of monopolies in the early 20th century) will energize a consumer backlash against these concentrations of wealth and power.
Dayen has collected data and case studies that reveal how a handful of megacorporations dominates daily life to the detriment of many Americans. His extensive research reveals how monopolies have eliminated genuine consumer choice, worker protections, and competition while also stifling innovation and racking up enormous corporate profits. Dayen exposes the influence these entities have gained over public officials at the expense of the public good ... Dayen’s investigation is as well-written and compelling as it is disturbing in its detailed and hard-hitting revelations. But Dayen moves beyond the injustice and insult of it all to remind readers that America has faced the threat of monopolies and unfair economic practices in the past and created ways to regulate and rein in such damaging practices. And as his concluding chapter on fighting back makes clear, the U.S. can do so again with a rise in citizen awareness and activism.
...a sweeping, deeply researched assessment of the adverse consequences of monopolies on American life ... Balancing copious data with profiles of workers and business owners, and writing in clear, accessible language, Dayen makes a persuasive argument that reining in big business should be a priority for American voters and policy makers. This is an incisive, irrefutable call to action.
A cutting damnation of the monopolization of the international marketplace for, well, pretty much everything ... The author digs deep into the problem, chronicling his travels around the U.S. to see not only the macro effects of monopolies, but their very real impacts on real people ... The author covers such usual suspects as the banking industry, the communications industry, and big pharma, but he shines a light on the shady corners of the prison system and even the funeral industry, illuminating the breadth and depth of the insidious effects of a multilayered system that follows and controls its victims throughout their lives. Dayen’s main thread is inequality, a natural consequence of one entity having nearly complete control over a market. Readers may know much of this information, but it’s still shocking to read about the damaging consequences of superconcentrated markets. Economists know how to fight it, as Dayen clearly explains, but getting people to recognize how they’re being used is exceedingly difficult. It’s a striking social and economic dilemma that the author thankfully exposes ... A powerful, necessary call to arms to strengthen the antitrust movement and fight a system whose goal is complete control.