Since last November’s election, one of the sharpest debates in American politics has been whether to fight foremost for social justice or for economic justice. But as Brian S. Feldman of our Open Markets team writes in the new Washington Monthly, sometimes smart policies can simultaneously drive progress on both fronts. In this case the smart policy is to use antimonopoly law to protect independent business owners in ways that help to ensure the sovereignty of entire communities of Americans.
Feldman begins his article with groundbreaking research on the dramatic decline in the number of black-owned businesses in America, largely due to pressure from giant corporations and banks. He then details one of the less-well-known histories of the civil rights movement, which is the role that independent black business owners played in supporting the civil rights movement. He also details how civil rights leaders wielded antitrust law to promote freedom, then fought to preserve these laws for future generations.
Feldman’s article is the latest effort by our Open Markets team to alert Americans to the fast growing political dangers posed by economic concentration. As we have detailed in previous articles, antimonopoly policy in America was designed precisely to ensure the full independence and dignity of individual citizens and communities. Such independence, as leaders ranging from Frederick Douglass to W.E.B DuBois to Martin Luther King Jr. taught, is one of the foundations from which true freedom is won and kept.
Barry C. Lynn
Director, Open Markets Program
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