No liberty is safe if we allow anyone to concentrate control over the public squares and open markets where we exchange views, ideas, information, and work. Yet in America today the threat of concentrated control is greater than any time in at least a century, perhaps ever. Radical changes a generation ago in how we enforce our anti-monopoly and trade laws cleared the way for a few giant corporations – some tied to foreign states – to assert mastery over almost every corner of our economy. These new monopolies have upset basic balances in our democracy and our society.
This intense and fast growing concentration of power helps to explain many of the most pressing ills in America today – great and growing inequality, the instability of our financial system, political dysfunction in Washington, the degradation of jobs and the sharp decline in entrepreneurial opportunity, health care no one can afford, crumbling communities and broken families and individuals crippled by mass marketed addictions. The effects of these ills fall especially hard on people of color, and low-income and rural communities.
The threat is getting worse. Amazon, Google and other online super-monopolists, armed with massive dossiers of data on every American, are tightening their grip on the most vital arteries of commerce, and their control over the media we use to share news and information with one another.
The mission of Open Markets is to empower Americans to reclaim all the freedoms fundamental to a happy life as independent and fully engaged citizens. This includes the freedom to earn a fair wage for hard work and the freedom to start a business and build it up. It includes the freedom to sell the products of our farms, our hands, and our minds on open markets at fair prices. It includes the freedom to talk freely and share trustworthy news with one another. It includes the freedom to provide good food and good health care and good education to our children. It includes the freedom to build communities and families in our own ways. It includes the freedom that comes from knowing our nation is safe and our world is at peace.
Recently, the entire Open Markets was forced to leave our long-time home in a Washington think tank after we made a statement in support of an antitrust decision against Google. We have relaunched as an independent non-profit organization, The Open Markets Institute. This attempt to interfere in our work also inspired us to launch a new initiative, Citizens Against Monopoly, to engage Americans from across our nation in fights against concentrated private power. Neither Open Markets nor Citizens Against Monopoly will accept funding from any for-profit corporation.
In the coming weeks and months the Open Markets team will continue to do what we have always done – address these threats through cutting edge journalism, historical and legal analysis, and direct outreach to policymakers and the public in the United States and Europe. We will also build a new website to help the public understand America’s monopoly problem, to connect readers with our large body of writings and research, and to give members of the public a better sense of how to work together to master the great political threat posed by concentration of power.
Individual members of the Open Markets team will also continue to do our vanguard work detailing how consolidation affects specific sectors of the U.S. economy. This will include food and farming systems, especially through our Food and Power newsletter. It includes detailed looks at how monopoly affects American workers, entrepreneurs, and innovators. It includes detailed dives into the effects of monopolization in healthcare and pharmaceuticals, transportation, retail, energy, heavy industry, and banking and finance. It includes close research into how trade laws promote dangerous monopolization, both abroad and here at home.
Click here to learn more about who we are.