Academic Articles & Papers

Wealth, Power, Control, and Command Private Monopoly and the American Worker

In this paper for the AFL-CIO Commission on the Future of Work and Unions, Barry Lynn takes an introductory look at the political origins of America’s monopoly problem, provides some sense of the magnitude of the problem, and briefly assesses some of the specific ways in which big tech corporations such as Google and Uber make the monopoly problem worse.

July 15, 2018  |  by Open Markets

A majority of citizens believe something is deeply wrong with America. We see the evidence in economic inequality that is greater than ever. We see it in the fantastic dysfunction in our political system, and in shocking outbreaks of racism and tribalism. We see it in figures that detail soaring levels of addiction to opioids and alcohol, and in life spans that for the first time in our nation’s history are falling for large segments of the population. The big question is what’s going on? Because today’s crisis does not fit easily into the outlines of any of the economic or political crises of recent decades. For a generation, progressives have blamed the long steady decline in the fortunes of America’s working families mainly on three factors – the sharp restrictions on labor rights that began under President Reagan, the offshoring of jobs that spiked after President Clinton signed NAFTA and the WTO in the 1990s, and automation. They have largely ignored a fourth factor – monopolization. Yet in fact, economic power in the United States today is more concentrated than at any time in a century, perhaps ever. And a growing body of evidence fingers monopolization as the main factor, or one of the main factors, behind just about every problem that matters to workers and families in America today.

Read the full paper here. 

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