This is a world where four major banks control most of our money, four airlines shuttle most of us around the country, and four major cell phone providers connect most of our communications. If you are sick you can go to one of three main pharmacies to fill your prescription, and if you end up in a hospital almost every accessory to heal you comes from one of a handful of large medical suppliers.
Dayen, the editor of the American Prospect provides an account of what it means to live in this new age of monopoly and how we might resist this corporate hegemony.
... 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.