Most Americans know that our country has become extremely unequal. They may not know that the richest 0.1% of Americans own as much wealth as the bottom 90%, or that the richest one percent took more than half of all income growth since 1979. But they know that the rich benefit more and more nowadays, while middle and working class families take home less and less.
Our team at the Open Markets Institute is dedicated to investigating and publicizing the radical concentrations of wealth — and of power — that are responsible for creating much of this extreme inequality. Through investigative journalism and historical and legal research we have shown that monopoly power is at the root of many of the most pressing injustices in America today—including degraded jobs, depressed entrepreneurship, financial instability, and the weakening of the economic and social fabric of communities all across the country.
Last month, our team of ten people was forced to leave our long-time home at a well-known Washington think tank. We were pushed out for expressing support for an antitrust decision against Google, a tech monopoly that is also one of that think tank’s largest funders. Since then, we have re-established ourselves as an independent, non-profit organization that does not accept funding from any for-profit corporation. We are fully committed to continuing, and expanding, the groundbreaking reporting and research we have done for years.
The origins of America’s monopoly problem today trace to the early 1980s, when an odd alliance of legal scholars and economists from the Right and Left pushed through a radical rethinking of America’s traditional antimonopoly philosophy. In stead of using antimonopoly law to protect our democratic institutions from concentrated power, they said we should aim only at making economic systems more “efficient,” in order to better promote our “welfare” as “consumers.”
In the decades since, every administration has…