The FCC is scheduled to decide the fate of Internet access on Thursday, Dec 14. Will anyone anywhere in the U.S. be able to pay one basic fee to access information on the Internet from the most popular to the most arcane content providers? If all indications are correct, probably not. ISPs will increasingly decide on… Continue reading
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“A competitive marketplace is fundamental to how our country should work,” says Joe Maxwell. In recent years, though, many markets have stopped being competitive, including food and farming. In this episode of in this episode of ILSR’s Building Local Power podcast, Maxwell sits down to talk about it with Stacy Mitchell, ILSR’s co-director.
Maxwell, the former Lt. Gov. of Missouri, is now executive director of the Organization for Competitive Markets. He’s also the president and CEO of Family Farm Action, a coalition of family farmers and advocates that’s building the “political muscle” to fight for farmers and communities. Continue reading
Since the 1960s, there’s been a concerted effort by economists and policymakers to consolidate family farms into large-scale industrial agriculture operations. The thinking was that these giant farms could better feed the world. Today’s guest, John Ikerd, was one of those economists — that is, until the farm crisis hit in the 1980s. Ikerd took a… Continue reading
Executive Summary A wave of consolidation has swept across the U.S. economy over the past decade, reshaping already-powerful corporations into financial and political powerhouses. The trend has taken particular hold among electric utilities, a sector where monopoly reigns virtually unchecked. Consolidated, investor-owned utilities now have service territories that span several states and include millions of… Continue reading
In this episode of the Building Local Power podcast, ILSR co-director Stacy Mitchell sits down with Barry Lynn, head of the Open Markets Institute, to talk about how we fight concentrated corporate power and its impact on our liberty and democracy. The two delve into the history of anti-monopoly policy, talk about the changes in policy that gave rise to today’s monopolies, including the tech super-giants — Google, Facebook, and Amazon. And they talk about how a new movement to break up these monopolies is fast gaining momentum. Continue reading
If you work to secure Americans’ rights to solar energy or to accelerate the deployment of inexpensive renewable energy, you understand that not everyone is in favor. In particular, incumbent electric utilities tend to oppose competition in their (often monopoly) share of the electricity market. Where competition exists, it is plagued by unfairness. Below, we… Continue reading
If you’re reading energy news of late, you might have come across three new ways that forces are aligning against local renewable energy. State governments are increasingly pre-empting local authority on a range of issues, including energy. Utility companies are undercutting state regulation with their legislative lobbyists. And utilities are also bringing their monopoly market power to bear in previously competitive markets.
If you live in rural America, chances are you know what it’s like to have inadequate Internet access. If you’ve heard about the Connect America Fund, however, you probably think help is on the way and your problems will soon be over; you’ll get the kind of speeds available in large cities, right? Wrong. Our short… Continue reading
In this op-ed for Motherboard, we look at how Amazon is trying to control the underlying infrastructure of our economy. We also examine how buying Whole Foods would expand Amazon’s control of commerce — and why regulators should block it. Continue reading
If “monopoly” sounds like a word from another era, that’s because, until recently, it was. The term was reliably used through the middle of the 20th century in newspaper headlines and State of the Union addresses alike, but starting in the 1970s, it began to retreat from public consciousness. The story of why carries lessons for how an economic policy’s effectiveness can be its own undoing — and about how people are thinking about corporate power today. Because monopoly is back.
In this piece for The Atlantic, ILSR’s Stacy Mitchell looks at the history of the anti-monopoly movement in the U.S., and how today, as economic concentration soars, monopoly could again be just the word we need. Continue reading