FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For media inquiries, please contact: Reggie Rucker, ILSR Communications Director
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Sept. 22, 2022) – In a statement, ILSR’s Co-director Stacy Mitchell responded to Alvaro Bedoya’s keynote address at the Midwest Forum on Fair Markets, which coincided with a new report from ILSR on the need to restore the Robinson-Patman Act.
“Today, FTC Commissioner Alvaro Bedoya made a powerful case that the guiding aim of antitrust enforcement should be fairness, including fairness for small businesses. Indeed, this is the central principle of the antitrust laws enacted by Congress. Yet, for more than 40 years, the agency has allowed misguided and dangerous notions of “efficiency” to trump fairness. The consequences are being felt across the country in shuttered local businesses, failing farms, the absence of basic services like grocery stores and hospitals, and the weakening of communities.”
“The FTC has a crucial obligation to address these widespread and debilitating problems. It can do so by reinvigorating antitrust enforcement and restoring its focus on fairness.”
“Most important of all, Commissioner Bedoya called for reviving enforcement of the Robinson-Patman Act and its prohibitions on predatory buying and price discrimination. The failure to enforce this law for the last 40 years has allowed Walmart, Amazon, and other big retailers to sidestep competition and instead use their sheer size and financial might to drive independent retailers out of business and dominate markets. Restoring it is crucial to rebuilding a productive and competitive economy and creating thriving communities.”
In conjunction with today’s event, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance published Boxed Out, a new report on the harms of predatory buying and the need to restore the Robinson-Patman Act. The report examines:
- How big retailers exert their power as dominant buyers of food and goods to bully suppliers, extracting discounts for themselves while forcing independent retailers to pay more — a monopoly tactic we call “predatory buying.”
- The law Congress passed in 1936 to block predatory buying and protect independent businesses’ right to compete on fair terms — the Robinson-Patman Act — and the pro-bigness coup that stopped its enforcement in the 1970s.
- The consequences of this radical upending of policy, including the steep decline of independent retailers, massive consolidation in manufacturing, and hollowed-out communities that lack grocery stores, pharmacies, and other essential services.
- How restoring enforcement of the Robinson-Patman Act would expand small businesses, rebuild our fragile supply chains, increase genuine price competition to the benefit of consumers, and ensure that all communities have access to essential goods and services.
About the Institute for Local Self-Reliance
The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) is a national nonprofit research and educational organization founded in 1974. ILSR has a vision of thriving, diverse, equitable communities. To reach this vision, we build local power to fight corporate control. We believe that democracy can only thrive when economic and political power is widely dispersed. Whether it’s fighting back against the outsize power of monopolies like Amazon or advocating to keep local renewable energy in the community that produced it, ILSR advocates for solutions that harness the power of citizens and communities. More at www.ilsr.org
(Photo: The Esperanza Education Fund)
If you like this post, be sure to sign up for the monthly Hometown Advantage newsletter for our latest reporting and research.