Free markets killed capitalism: Ayn Rand, Ronald Reagan, Wal-Mart, Amazon and the 1 percent’s sick triumph over us all

Posted: June 29, 2014 in American Politics, Ayn Rand, Economy

Monopoly is back: Barry Lynn on the concentration of American economic power — and how we can restore fairness

by Thomas Frank

via Free markets killed capitalism: Ayn Rand, Ronald Reagan, Wal-Mart, Amazon and the 1 percent’s sick triumph over us all – Salon.com.

Barry C. Lynn is a senior fellow at the New America Foundation and the author of two important books, “End of the Line” and ”Cornered,” the latter of which describes the dramatic return of monopoly to the American landscape. Both books had a big effect on me when they appeared, as did Lynn’s periodic articles in Harper’s Magazine describing the concentration of economic power in all sorts of different industries. One of the reasons his books startled me is the weird silence of virtually all our other popular economic writers on the subject. Monopoly is back, in a massive way, and yet it seems as though even liberals often have trouble talking about it. If we’re really going to do something about inequality, however, it’s time we looked this thing in the face.

Barry Lynn and I sat down and talked it over last week. What follows is an edited transcript of our conversation.

Monopoly: It sounds like a very old-fashioned problem. It sounds like an economic issue from the 19th century. Is it still a problem today?

Yes, absolutely, a huge problem. The American economy is more concentrated today than it’s been in more than a century, since the days of the plutocrats. Pretty much every sector of the economy is dominated by a few Goliaths, sometimes a single dominant corporation. And this poses immense economic and political dangers, to growth and the quality of our jobs, and to our democracy itself.

But to really understand what this means, let’s start at the very beginning. It was a huge problem a century ago. That was the plutocratic era. You had a guy named JP Morgan who pretty much ran Wall Street and pretty much determined who did what in this country and where they did it, who made steel and who didn’t make steel.

[Continue to source article here.]

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