Monopoly power has become entrenched in all of our economies. There is a large, well-funded, elite, technocratic “competition establishment” that for decades has been cheerleading a long-running train of mergers, and acquisitions, leading to ever more concentrated economic power.
This competition establishment protects and wields a pro-monopoly paradigm or ideology, which emerged in Chicago in the 1970s and has since swept the world. Focusing on competition policy, or “antitrust,” this ideology holds that we should ignore power and the public interest, or the interests of stakeholders in society like workers, taxpayers, citizens and so on.
Instead, they argue that we should focus instead on the economic efficiency of corporations – as measured by economists – and the interests of consumers alone.
This “consumer welfare” approach legitimises monopoly power, by wielding the bogus argument that ever bigger corporations enjoy economies of scale and scope, and that these “efficiencies” will trickle down to consumers, leaving everyone better off.
In the process, it has airbrushed out of the picture problems such as inequality, workers’ rights, privacy, security, and much else besides.
Together, this competition establishment, and the pro-monopoly ideology, constitute a powerful “system of monopoly” with many interlocking parts, including law firms, consultancies, banks, big multinationals, and an army of well-paid academics.
To get a good sense of how this system functions, see our shocking interview with Tommaso Valletti, the former Chief Economist of the European Commission.
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