Consolidation of Power
If you have ever played a game of Monopoly, you know two truths to be self-evident:
1) Top Hats will never go out of style
2) You will absolutely hate all the other players in less than 2 hours.
Although just a game, it shows how the consolidation of power (ConsPower) into one dominate player can be destructive both economically and socially. Even when we all start off the game at the exact same position, and the playing field is level, ConsPower is inevitable. In the end, few people (or one in the case of Monopoly, just one person) prospers while all the others become disenfranchised members of society.
Con-pow manifests itself in a few different ways:
Low Wages - Less competition among businesses means fewer employers with many more eligible workers. Your talent and skills become a commodity and it becomes a race to the bottom on salaries.
Higher Prices - Same as above, when there are fewer businesses to keep prices in check, companies are able to charge whatever they want regardless of supply or demand.
Less Innovation - No reason to develop new ideas or products when profits are guaranteed out of the status quo. The larger the organization, the easier it is for them to use their money and power to out muscle potential competition.
Less Respect - Workers are no longer valued and personal growth is non-existent in the workplace. This feeling of helplessness is one of the major factors contributing to the opioid epidemic
More Corruption - Corporations and special interest groups work on behalf of executives and pay “legal” bribes to politicians who ignore their constituents in favor of big donors.
Examples of excessive con-pow:
Google and Facebook - 73% of all digital advertising market and 83% of all the new growth. Facebook, specifically, has been a poor steward of data privacy issues as well.
Apple - 18% of all smartphone sales but a whopping 80% of all smartphone profits
Amazon - 4% of ALL retail sales and 44% of ALL online sales, just one company.
Monsanto - 80% of the seeds market
Nestle - 73% of all baby food products sold and 47% of all pet food, want to privatize public water systems
Luxotica - Holding company that owns LensCrafters, Sunglass Hut, Pearl Vision, Sears Optical, Target Optical, Glasses.com and operates brands such as Oakley and Ray Ban. Glasses have been around since Medieval times, few markets are more mature yet one company dominates it and sell frames 10-25x it’s manufacturing cost.
Pharmaceutical Drugs - Due to poor patent laws, can sell drugs at a 10,000% mark-up!
Oil Companies - Used their profits to cover up climate change for years
Airlines - 4 major companies control 80% of all domestic flight
Corrections Corporation of America - America’s private prison monopoly, not only is this morally disgusting but the profits are uncontested.
Our platforms top priority is to fight against con-pow and support a new type of antitrust movement. This includes using the Federal Trade Commission to put a halt on mergers, adding structural barriers that separate businesses that could create conflicts of interest, and split up or reduce the power of corporations that have the ability to control vast areas of commerce.
Antitrust battles are sexy, they are the heavyweight fight that pits David (the common man) against Goliath (the mega corporation) in a battle for democracy. As Americans we love competition and we love underdogs. Supporting antitrust reform is to stand for everything that is great about living in a free country. Corporate consolidation doesn’t just undercut this freedom in the marketplace—it undercuts the economic equality and free flow of information on which our political system depends.