Goliath: The 100-Year War Between Monopoly Power and Populism

Matt Stoller. Simon and Schuster, $29.99 (592p) ISBN 978-1-5011-8308-9
An excessive concentration of power in a few hands has undermined the U.S.’s well-being, according to this passionate, ill-focused history of the country’s economic policy. Stoller, a journalist and former Senate Budget Committee analyst, recounts the rise of antimonopoly policy, culminating in the New Deal regime of regulation and antitrust action to tame or break up overmighty banks and corporations. The result, he contends, was a postwar economy of independent farmers, mom-and-pop retailers, and mid-level manufacturers—a paradise of populist, human-scale capitalism championed by Democratic Congressman Wright Patman, who fought epic legislative battles against Wall Street from the House Banking Committee, and about whom Stoller writes admiringly. Then Stoller traces the emergence of his villains—antiregulation “Chicago School” economists, new Wall Street empire-builders such as Citibank’s Walter Wriston, monopoly-friendly liberals such as John Kenneth Galbraith, and post-Watergate Democratic Congressmen—who dismantled antitrust and financial regulations to create today’s monopolistic economy of giant banks, agribusiness empires, social media behemoths, and Amazon. Stoller attacks “the beast of monopoly,” pillorying chain retailers for lowering prices too far and dismissing the Chicago critique of antitrust regulation as “pseudoscience.” Ultimately, he lapses into a baggy jeremiad that blames “concentrated power” for everything from fascism to obesity. This account of once-potent populist politics probably won’t convince those who aren’t already in sympathy with Stoller’s worldview, but it’s lively history. Agent: Farley Chase, Chase Literary. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 08/02/2019
Release date: 06/04/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-5082-9260-9
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-1-9821-1534-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-5082-9262-3
Paperback - 608 pages - 978-1-5011-8289-1
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