By Sally Hubbard
Something’s not right. No matter how hard you work, life seems to only get harder. When your expenses keep going up but your income stays flat, when you’re price-gouged buying medicine for your child’s life-threatening allergy, when you live in a hyped-up state of fear and anxiety, monopoly power is playing a key role. In Monopolies Suck, antitrust expert and director at the Open Markets Institute, Sally Hubbard, shows us the seven ways big corporations rule our lives—and what must be done to stop them.
Throughout history, monopolists who controlled entire industries like railroads and oil were aptly called “robber barons” because they extracted wealth from everyone else—and today’s monopolies are no different. By charging high prices, skirting taxes, and reducing our pay and economic opportunities, they are not only stealing our money, but also robbing us of innovation and choice, as market dominance prevents new companies from challenging them. They’re robbing us of the ability to take care of our sick, a healthy food supply, and a habitable planet by using business practices that deplete rather than generate. They’re a threat to our private lives, fair elections, a robust press, and ultimately, the American Dream that so many of us are striving for.
In this “accessible guide” (Zephyr Teachout, author of Break ‘Em Up), Sally Hubbard gives us an easy-to-understand overview of the history of monopolies and antitrust law, and urges us to use our voices, votes, and wallets to protest monopoly power. Emboldened by the previous century when we successfully broke up monopoly power in the US, we have the tools to dismantle corporate power again today—before their lobbying threatens to undermine our economy and democracy for generations to come.
Mollie Glick on Pulbisher's Weekly wrote:
"Hubbard clearly shows how monopolies are established in numerous ways. [...] Hubbard’s argument is convincing without being overbearing. Usefully, she also makes the case that monopolies have been broken before in American history (think Teddy Roosevelt’s trust-busting) and that there are anti-monopolistic tools already available to federal enforcers—if only they would use them. A provocative call to restore economic competition by dismantling the ruling plutocracy."
"Hubbard, director of enforcement strategy at the Open Markets Institute, debuts with a thorough look at how corporate monopolies negatively impact the average American’s finances, health, consumer options, and overall well-being. She sketches the history and process of antitrust law enforcement, then delves into the impact of modern-day monopolies on airfare costs, internet access, and food supplies. [...] Hubbard also details how anticompetitive practices in the health-care industry contributed to a ventilator shortage during the Covid-19 pandemic. Her suggestions for fighting monopoly power range from using the DuckDuckGo search engine instead of Google to proposing a law banning online platforms from competing against businesses that depend on them. Hubbard’s cogent, accessible analysis makes a persuasive case that unchecked monopolies have rigged the system against ordinary Americans. Policymakers and voters will want to take note."
Discussion with Hubbard about the Book
- "How to Open Our Markets Back Up Again: Talking to Sally Hubbard", interview at the Los Angeles Review of Books, 26 February 2021
- Podcast with Hubbard about the book at WAMC Public Radio, 19 November 2020
Table of Contents of Monopolies Suck
- Monopolies Take Your Money
- Monopolies Gouge You When You're Sick
- Monopolies Lower Your Pay and Crush the American Dream
- Monopolies Spy on and Manipulate You
- Monopolies Threaten Democracy and Your Freedom
- Monopolies Destroy Our Planet and Control Your Food
- Monopolies Ramp Up Inequality
- How to Take Back Control
About Sally Hubbard
Sally Hubbard is an antitrust expert and Director of Enforcement Strategy at the Open Markets Institute, an organization developing solutions to America’s monopoly crisis. She served as an Assistant Attorney General in the NYAG Antitrust Bureau, and was an investigative journalist covering mergers, monopolies, and privacy. She has testified in the US House of Representatives and before the Federal Trade Commission. She appears and is cited regularly as an antitrust expert in a wide range of media, including The New York Times, CNN, BBC World News, Vanity Fair, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Wired, and hosts the podcast Women Killing It. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children.