cover image Monopolized: Life in the Age of Corporate Power

Monopolized: Life in the Age of Corporate Power

David Dayen. New Press, $27.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-62097-541-1

American Prospect editor Dayen (Chain of Title) delivers a sweeping, deeply researched assessment of the adverse consequences of monopolies on American life. A chapter on the agricultural industry explains how the “concentrated animal feeding operations” of corporate hog farms put smaller competitors out of business, damage the environment, and endanger public health. Dayen also details how tech behemoths such as Google and Facebook degrade online journalism; how pharmaceutical companies prevent people from buying insulin and other essential medications at an affordable price; and how Amazon exploits contract delivery drivers and third-party sellers. Tracing the steady decline of antitrust enforcement across the past few decades, Dayen notes, for instance, that 51 airlines merged between 1979 and 1988, and that four major carriers now control more than 80% of U.S. routes. In the book’s final chapter, he calls for the reinterpretation of existing antitrust laws “to cover the full spectrum of harms, beyond just consumer welfare,” and describes the emergence of antimonopoly movements in the U.S. and abroad. Balancing copious data with profiles of workers and business owners, and writing in clear, accessible language, Dayen makes a persuasive argument that reining in big business should be a priority for American voters and policy makers. This is an incisive, irrefutable call to action. (July)