in the last century, steps were taken to ensure that a few companies
did not control the bulk of any industry's
production or any other concentration of control over production,
shipping, or retail, but in recent years, elected officials have
seemed to see monopoly as rather benign.
the current economy, the general public has not made monopoly a major
issue, even though it has cost the average citizen much of a
income and monopoly has hit lower-income families particularly hard.
loud fear-mongering about inflation could be traced to a new kind of
monopoly, even though the old form continues to prey on poor
Americans, along with all wage-working citizens.
is concentration in ownership of the meat industry, along with the
food industry, in general. A handful of corporations control the
majority of meat production. A few giant corporations are in control
of milk production, distribution, and sales, even though there are
some local companies still in operation in various regions. There is
concentration in virtually every aspect of the U.S. economy and the
consumers, citizens, are paying: higher prices, shrinking supplies,
and fewer choices.
many industries or businesses can escape this concentration of
ownership and control. In the “news business,” for
example, billionaires now own the means of communication, whether it
be newspapers, magazines, radio, or television or cable. The rich own
it all and, whether they say what they want their outlets to
broadcast or print, the editors and managers know what they want
their readers and listeners and viewers to see and hear.
newspapers, for example, when a hedge fund buys a paper, reporting
staff is reduced, local news is one of the first things to go and
then they go for the plant: the building, the equipment, and all of
the things that give life to a news-gathering and news-disseminating
operation. The people involved and all of the years of experience and
history they have in their heads are gone. Hedge funds and their
predatory officers care little or nothing for the people, either the
news people or the viewers or readers.
has been said repeatedly in one form or another that news stories are
the first draft of history and the founders believed (or, at least
some of them) that the only thing that allows a democracy to thrive
and survive is the education of its citizenry. Hedge funders and
monopolizers care nothing for any of that, because their interest is
in accumulating the greatest profit possible in the shortest amount
of time. Often, that means that the news outlet is turned over for
its monetary value as quickly as a “flipped” house that
has just been renovated.
seems to have taken a new turn. Writing in the Harvard
in 2019, Jacob Greenspon refers to it as “horizontal
shareholding.” He sees it as a different form of monopoly and
one that escapes detection for most people as a form of monopoly.
what he said about it three years ago: “For example, there is
substantial common ownership among U.S. airlines. Between 2013 and
2015, the seven shareholders who controlled 60 percent of United
Airlines also controlled 28 percent of Delta, 27 percent of JetBlue,
and 23 percent of Southwest. Together, these airlines have over half
the domestic market share. Theory and evidence suggests that
horizontal shareholding harms competition, consumers, and the
of us don't
think of the plundering of the U.S. economy in that manner. We're
still looking for the robber baron or big corporation that has
cornered the production and supply of our latest electronic
contraption, but Greenspon's
horizontal shareholding is rather clever in that, no matter which way
the economic wind blows in the airline (or any other) industry, these
folks make money. It's
just the people at the end of this chain that are the losers.
why back a hundred years ago, Teddy Roosevelt became known as “the
trustbuster,” because he was instrumental in the attempt to
keep the economy from falling into fewer and fewer hands. Like now.
just happening in another way. You can be sure that the airline
industry is not the only industry that is seeing horizontal
pretty much the way the rich and Corporate America are doing
business. The American people are the losers in this monumental
manipulation. The demise of trust-busters in the U.S. has happened
over a long period. As a people, Americans have ignored that danger
at their own peril, same as they did with the concept of usury.
most of recorded history, civilizations have tried to curb usury, the
lending of money and charging more money for the loan. Some nations
have set limits on what can be charged for the use of the lender's
money, but those limits only seem to work sometimes. The three
Abrahamic religions, in general, frowned on loans for interest. For
Christians, loaning money at interest was a sin. Rulers of some of
the most powerful empires knew usury as wrong and tried to limit it.
We see how little success they have had, when we look at the payday
lenders and check-cashing storefront businesses that thrive in poorer
neighborhoods across the U.S.
exist to funnel the wealth of the people into very few coffers and
the beneficiaries are the rich and Corporate America. With dwindling
sources of factual information, the loss of local reporting and much
of national reporting, it is right to ask, as reporter and economics
writer, the late William Greider, titled one of his books, “Who
Will Tell the People?”