Listen: How Corporate Mergers Undermine Labor Rights

Date: 3 Mar 2022 | posted in: Retail | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Senior Researcher and Writer Ron Knox was featured on, The Heartland Labor Forum, on Kansas City radio station KKFI, where he discussed his recent reporting in The American Prospect that detailed how corporate mergers helped create monopolies that dominate our economies and drive down workers’ wages. 

Corporate dominance is the paradigm that Americans are forced to live their lives under. Ron noted how many industries from beer distributors to banks have grown dangerously consolidated over the past half-century, in part due to unchecked corporate mergers. As Ron reported in the American Prospect, the number of corporate mergers has increased 40% just since 2019. Federal antitrust enforcers see an average of twelve new merger filings every day. “It is a firehose of mergers,” Ron said on the program.

Ron explained that, since the 1970s, America has seen corporate power and concentration displace the complementary traditions of labor rights and antitrust enforcement. The Reagan Administration upended antitrust laws and mergers were passed with little interference from the federal government. Lax, pro-bigness enforcement of the antitrust laws has continued all the way through the Trump administration. Over the past 40 years, as more companies have used their power to dictate prices, wages have stagnated even as productivity has increased.

But, as Ron explained, workers, small businesses, and communities may be regaining their footing against corporate power. In 2021, the Biden administration issued a sweeping executive order that amounted to the most significant anti-bigness agenda in decades. Now, as Ron puts it, we must push “Congress to clarify the intent and purpose of antitrust laws” for the next generation of workers and consumers to come.

Listen to Ron Knox speak on the Heartland Labor Forum here.

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Follow Luke Gannon:
Luke Gannon

Luke recently received a BA in journalism, creative writing, and ethnography from Hampshire College. She wrote, designed, and edited a magazine titled The Politics of Land in Teton Valley, ID that analyzed the environmental, economic, and social patterns of the region amidst Covid-19.

Follow Ron Knox:
Ron Knox

Senior Researcher

Ron Knox is the senior researcher and writer for the Independent Business Initiative. He has studied and written about antitrust and monopoly power for more than a decade. Before joining ILSR, he worked in various senior editorial roles at Global Competition Review, and his antimonopoly writing has appeared in The Washington Post, Slate, The American Prospect and elsewhere. He is based in Kansas City.