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We at the Open Markets program have led the fight against the concentration of economic and political power for more than a decade. In that time we have won many small battles and a few big ones. But in recent days, we made three huge breakthroughs.
The first came June 29 when Open Markets and the Capitol Forum hosted Senator Elizabeth Warren on Capitol Hill as she gave the most important speech on monopoly by a major political figure since the 1930s. In that speech, Senator Warren said “concentration threatens our markets, threatens our economy, and threatens our democracy.” And that was just in the second paragraph.
That same day, we also organized the first public discussion on what to do about the platform monopolists—like Amazon and Facebook—that increasingly control our society’s flow of commerce and information. Participants ranged from Tim Wu, who coined the term “Net Neutrality,” to two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning historian T.J. Stiles. You can learn how platform monopolists threaten America’s journalists, authors, musicians—and indeed every citizen in our nation—by watching this set of discussions.
Our third big breakthrough came last Saturday when, in close cooperation with a network of smart antimonopoly allies, we convinced the drafters of the Democratic Party Platform to include a strong statement about the need to reverse the concentration of economic power in America. This was the first time in 30 years that the Democratic Platform included such language.
These three breakthroughs have resonated, in policy circles in Washington and in Brussels, in the economics and legal academies, and among activists from St. Louis to London. Just today, in the New York Times, the economic columnist Eduardo Porter wrote on the link between monopoly and inequality in America.
But America’s Monopoly Problem remains, and every day, the monopolists in our midst concentrate more economic and political power. Of course, the first step to breaking their power—in a constructive and democratic manner—is to recognize the problem of monopoly and the political threat that it poses.
Now that we see America’s Monopoly Problem, the next step is to force our representatives in Washington to address it.
Barry C. Lynn
Director, Open Markets
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