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Open Markets-OECD Conference Details How Monopolization Undermines Our National Security, Endangers Our Health, and Harms Our Economy

April 24, 2020  | 

Open Markets, in conjunction with the New Approaches to Economic Challenges initiative (NAEC) of the OECD, co-hosted a webcast Thursday, April 23 to discuss how to ensure that all vital production systems are built to withstand pandemics, natural disasters, political conflicts, and other shocks. The overwhelming consensus was that concentration of power and capacity deeply threatens our ability to cope with crises such as COVID-19 and poses grave dangers to national security.

The event garnered national headlines when Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI) used his remarks to announce plans to introduce a moratorium on mergers during the pandemic, as part of the next round of stimulus funding. The congressman said that further consolidation would weaken the economy with lasting consequences.

Participants in the conference included Nobel-Prize-winning economist Paul Romer, Financial Times editor Rana Foroohar, International Trade Union Confederation general secretary Sharan Burrow, OECD Chief Economist Laurence Boone, former director-general of the World Trade Organization Pascal Lamy, former deputy governor of the Bank of England Paul Tucker, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota director Michael Osterholm, FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra, and Michael Masters, founder of Masters Capital Management and chair of Better Markets.

The conversation focused on a variety of dangers, including the extreme concentration of vital supplies in China, the fragility of complex industrial systems, and the ways in which today’s international supply chains harm millions of workers around the world.

Gabriela Ramos, OECD chief of staff and liaison to the G20, said that it was vital that international leaders address the danger posed by consolidation of capacity. “There is a tradeoff between resilience and efficiency,” she said.

Angel Gurría, secretary-general of the OECD, concluded the event, telling Open Markets’ Executive Director Barry Lynn that “You give us a vision, and then our mission … becomes clearer. We have a greater sense of purpose, so you provide all of that. It’s invaluable.”

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In America today, wealth and political power are more concentrated than at any point in our country’s history.

The Open Markets Institute, formerly the Open Markets program at New America, was founded to protect liberty and democracy from these extreme -- and growing -- concentrations of private power.

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