Antitrust enforcement is one of the most pressing issues facing America today—and Amy Klobuchar, a senator from Minnesota, is leading the charge. This history of the antitrust movement shows us what led to the present moment and offers achievable solutions to prevent monopolies, promote business competition, and encourage innovation.
A history of antitrust policy may not sound like the most compelling raw material for a page turner. But the book is an impressive work of scholarship, deeply researched — it has over 200 pages of footnotes — highly informative and surprisingly readable in the bargain ... The great virtue of Klobuchar’s history is that it takes us back to the formative years of antitrust, when the operating rules governing American capitalism were still very much in flux. It is a reminder that the way industries are organized and markets allowed to function are not determined by inexorable forces outside our control but are matters of social and political choice ... There is little to argue with here. Nevertheless, it is hard to believe that this is all it will take to arrest and reverse decades of growing corporate power and fundamentally change the economic landscape in the United States ... Klobuchar has probably exaggerated the adverse consequences of the last 30 years of laissez-faire policy toward corporate power, and the same reasoning causes her to overstate the potency of reversing it. Perhaps she should temper her enthusiasm, evident throughout this book, for Woodrow Wilson and his zeal for a vigorous antitrust policy, and rebalance it with some of Theodore Roosevelt’s skepticism.
Klobuchar reviews past monopolies, starting with a certain tea party, and continuing through the Gilded Age and the Sherman Act to current day, providing plenty of social, political, and legislative context ... She argues for swift, sweeping reform in economic, legislative, social welfare, and human rights policies. A steady stream of period political cartoons help keep things lively, and her style is engaging and energetic. Expect significant interest.
Antitrust is both a good book and a historic and important one—because Klobuchar, as the chair of the Senate Judicary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee, is likely to oversee major changes to antitrust law ... Klobuchar is a skilled politician and excellent storyteller, so Antitrust is full of colorful characters (and old lithographed cartoons and pictures to match) ... In the last three chapters, Klobuchar describes what to do about the crisis ... The complexity of this section is overwhelming, and the writing, which had been so fluid and enjoyable, starts to wander. Klobuchar can sound like a prairie populist ... it’s hard to connect the historical section with the set of solutions ... she doesn’t explain how her proposals would address the deep-rooted problem of today’s largely pro-monopoly judiciary ... Klobuchar’s most important recommendation is where she really shines and where her book, with its colorful portrayals of what Americans did to free themselves of monopoly, is at its best. She calls for a mass movement against monopolies, similar to those that she argues animated American history.