What’s the biggest problem in our economy today? Some people would say the threat of socialism; others would say the effects of capitalism. Matt Stoller would say neither; instead, we have a “crisis of concentration.” What does that mean? It’s a simple term that you probably learned in middle school social studies: monopolization — when one company or person has sole control over a branch of trade. Bold TV host David Grasso sat down with Stoller to find out the history of monopolies in the U.S., how they affect other aspects of society and why people are fighting back against them.
The net effect of monopolies
Stoller broke down the net effect of monopolization: “We feel like we’re being controlled and manipulated by these unseen forces.” Our economy and everything we buy is controlled by people we may not know and who may not have our best interest in mind. Wages seem to be lower while prices seem to be on the rise. Starting a new business is tough, much less keeping the business afloat.
How did we get here?
Stoller says we basically legalized monopolization about 30 years ago. It started with the law of economics movement, which took over policymaking in the ’80s. During this time, they changed the meaning of competition. Whereas competition used to mean that people were competing to sell or buy the same thing, it moved more toward financial speculation. Check out the video to learn more about what this means (and how our recent GameStop fiasco fits into the equation).
Where are we now?
Many people have lost faith in political and commercial institutions. How can we move forward?
You know, people really feel like the right or the left is their mortal enemy. But there is at least a consensus that these large technology firms and corporate concentration are a real problem. Now, it’s a matter of working through the institutions and changing the law, and changing the way that judges rule, the kind of slow march through the institutions to start to restore democracy in the commercial sector.Matt Stoller