Anti-corruption scholar and activist Zephyr Teachout makes the case that monopolies are the root cause of many of the problems that today's progressives wish to solve and, that in order to build a better future, we must eradicate monopolies from the private sector and create safeguards that prevent new ones from seizing power.
Teachout’s thesis is provocative and simple: that monopolistic corporations operate a despotic parallel governmental system, or as she writes in her refreshingly brusque style, 'monopoly is tyranny' ... In Teachout’s treatment, reviving antitrust activism feels not only possible but potentially effective. But it also brings into sharp relief how strange it was that a certain segment of the professional commentariat was crowing about the possible authoritarian tendencies of the Trump administration when monopolistic corporations had been sadistically infringing on our liberties by driving down wages, spying on us, and publicly ignoring the rule of law for decades under the watch of both political parties.
Teachout, a dogged scholar, lays out a comprehensive list of damage done to American consumers by monopolized industries like Big Pharma, fossil fuels, Silicon Valley, health insurance, banking and communications giants from Verizon to Facebook and Google ... Teachout should temper [her] anticorporate zeal, at least to a degree. Big companies have often done good while also doing bad ... Still, [she is] mostly right ... [a] valuable [book], and the anger [it] will generate may prove politically energizing.
Wide-ranging, well-organized chapters are full of unsettling tidbits, such as Amazon’s courting of the surveillance state via commercial data-sharing. Finally, the author looks back at the original populist antitrust movement, but she also makes the salient point that 'we shouldn’t require people to boycott essential communications infrastructure like Facebook and Google in order to demand that they be broken up.' Teachout confidently wields energetic, urgent prose and stark research, adeptly blending subtopics including law and technology. Deserves wide attention in our current political landscape.