Amazon has quietly positioned itself at the center of a growing share of our daily activities and transactions, extending its tentacles across our economy, and with it, our lives. In this new report, we pull back the curtain on the company, and find that it’s at the center of increasing inequality and diminishing opportunity, and that it’s concentrating power in ways that endanger competition, community life, and democracy. We also examine how public policy should address Amazon’s high costs. Continue reading
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The United States is much less a nation of entrepreneurs than it was a generation ago. This report suggests that the decline of small businesses is owed, at least in part, to anticompetitive behavior by large, dominant corporations. Drawing on examples in pharmacy, banking, telecommunications, and retail, it finds that big companies routinely use their size and their economic and political power to undermine their smaller rivals and exclude them from markets. This report presents three compelling reasons to bring a commitment to fair and open markets for small businesses back into antitrust enforcement and public policy, and concludes by outlining several specific steps to revive competition and small business. Continue reading
For the first time in 28 years, the Democratic Party platform calls for vigorous, stepped-up enforcement of our anti-monopoly laws. This remarkable shift in policy was made possible in part by the Bernie Sanders movement, but it’s also the product of years of advocacy by scholars and activists who believe that high levels of concentration in banking, retail, agribusiness and other sectors are ravaging our economy and democracy. Continue reading
The city of Ammon, Idaho, is building the Internet network of the future. Households and businesses can instantly change Internet service providers using a specially-designed innovative portal. This short 20 minute video highlights how the network is saving money, creating competition for broadband services, and creating powerful new public safety applications. We talk with… Continue reading
A recent agreement between two beer conglomerates will turn them into a single company with control over nearly 30 percent of the global beer market and 70 percent of the U.S. market — and it’s just one deal in a recent spate of mega-mergers that’s set to make 2015 a record year for mergers and acquisitions. While much of this concentration is invisible to most of us, its effects ripple throughout all areas of the economy. Continue reading
Amazon’s predatory monopoly is still unchecked, but a coalition of authors is calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate it. In a 24-page letter, the coalition contends that Amazon is abusing its market power in ways that undermine competition and compromise liberty, free speech, and democracy.
Walmart continues to expand, and rapidly. The company is now embarking on its third historic wave of store construction, with plans to build 440 to 460 “Neighborhood Market” stores over a two year period, presumably with many hundreds more to follow. There is a critical debate to be had right now about whether a company that already captures one-quarter of U.S. grocery sales should be allowed to grow to control one-third, or even half, of our food supply. Continue reading
What will we do without David Carr, the brilliant media columnist at the New York Times who died last week? At ILSR, we will especially miss his writing on monopoly power, Amazon, and the book business. We’ve excerpted and linked to a few of his best recent pieces on those subjects. Continue reading
In this panel at the New Economy Coalition’s 2014 conference, ILSR’s Stacy Mitchell, together with Barry Lynn of the New America Foundation and Aaron Bartley of PUSH Buffalo, talk about crafting a countervailing political narrative and shared policy framework for devolving economic power and building a community-scaled economy. Continue reading
Despite growing public support, local businesses are likely to remain on the economic margins without fundamental changes in public policy. In this lecture, delivered at the Bristol Schumacher Conference in Great Britain, Stacy Mitchell proposes a set of new rules — policies that would foster local self-reliance and refashion the economy for long-term viability.