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Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism and the Economics of Destruction Hardcover – January 7, 2010
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In Cornered, journalist Barry C. Lynn paints a genuinely alarming picture: most of our public debates about globalization, competitiveness, creative destruction, and risky finance are nothing more than a cover for the widespread consolidation of power in nearly every imaginable sector of the American economy.
Cornered strips the camouflage from the secret world of twenty-first-century monopolies—neofeudalist empires whose sheer size, vast resources, and immense political power enable them to control virtually every major industry in America in an increasingly authoritarian manner. Lynn reveals how these massive juggernauts, which would have been illegal just thirty years ago, came into being, how they have destroyed or devoured their competition, and how they collude with one another to maintain their power and create the illusion of open, competitive markets.
The Obama administration has promised more aggressive enforcement on antitrust issues, but Lynn argues that they are missing the forest for the trees. For decades, the federal government has all but encouraged companies to buy one another up, outsource all their production, and make their profits by leveraging their market share. It will take more than a lawsuit or two to overthrow America's corporatist oligarchy and restore a model of capitalism that protects our rights as property holders and citizens.
Through stories of real people and real industries, Barry C. Lynn shows how monopolies threaten independent businesses, squelch innovation, degrade the quality and safety of basic products, destabilize our most vital industrial and financial systems, and destroy the very fabric of democracy. Avoiding the partisan cant that has poisoned virtually every important American debate in recent years, he explains how, over the past three decades, leaders of both parties and thinkers across the political spectrum have encouraged and enabled the growth of monopolies. He traces the history of how such now-familiar phrases as "free market" and "consumer welfare" were created and used to pave the way for monopolization. Lynn also demonstrates how the drive for "always lower prices," routinely invoked to justify ruthless practices that might once have landed their perpetrators in jail, makes jobs disappear, puts small businesses out of business, and turns dreams of entrepreneurial success into impossible fantasies.
Complete with an entirely fresh set of solutions based on the traditional American approach of empowering the individual citizen, Cornered is both a wake-up call and a call to arms for anyone who believes in democracy, competition, and liberty for all.
Top Customer Reviews
Mr. Lynn tells us, for example, about the power of single companies or small groups of companies over such disparate fields as eyeglasses, certain categories of pet food, washer-dryer sales, auto parts, many aspects of food processing, surfboards, medical syringes--and that the same situation would almost certainly exist in the sacred beer market were it not for the peculiarities of local alcoholic-beverage regulations....
This is, we are often reminded, a populist age, with fresh flare-ups of fury every time Wall Street bonuses hit the headlines. And in Mr. Lynn's combination of outrage against "the rich" and reverence for the country's democratic tradition, he seems to capture the sensibility of the times perfectly. "Cornered" could well become a sort of manifesto for our time, a road map for a revival of the old antitrust sentiment."
This book is a must read. Run don't walk to your local bookstore.
There are two sides to the global economy. One side is the businesses and the other side is the consumer. Lynn addresses the problems with the business side illustrating how the trend for regulation-free economies has hoodwinked us to accept a few large corporations controlling the whole economy curtailing any competition (with the greatest communicator of our time, President Reagan, taking the side of anti-regulation group along with his Supreme Court appointees from the heart of the corporate world--such as Clarence Thomas representing Monsanto--what chance did the uninformed common people have?). He shows us how two or three major corporations own and dominate almost every industry. This finding is so bleak since it leads to the conclusion that there is no longer free competition and thus capitalism is no longer possible. And without capitalism and competition we cannot create enough jobs for the population.
Another disturbing fact is that these large corporations are owned by a small percentage of people who also own most of the wealth in the world today.Read more ›
Beginning during the Reagan years, antitrust laws were viewed as something that should not be enforced with rigor and that "free markets" would allow companies to grow, consolidate and save consumers money by economy of scale. This view continued on through Bush, Clinton and Bush Jr. and represents where we stand now. Corporations have indeed consolidated, and in the process they have come to monopolize entire segments of the economy.
While they were busy grabbing up other companies, they were also busy sending jobs and machinery overseas, along with the technical knowledge needed to be creative. Research and development budgets stagnated, and while prices did fall, so did the number of choices available to us as consumers. And, because corporations had swallowed up all the competition, we are in a situation where entire markets will collapse if these corporations collapse.
They book is an eye opening read into what has happened over the past several decades and exposes why it happened in addition to who is responsible. If I had a complaint, it is that the book is dense with economic terms, and the author sometimes strays into economic history that is not needed for an understanding of the discussion.
I would strongly recommend this book to all! It may be a dense read. But it also contains important information about our economy and how we need to take it back!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent book. Great primer on one aspect of the structural problems we face in this country. Addresses head on the consequences of a 'capitalist' system without restraints. Read morePublished 19 days ago by lee guelff
All I can say is if you have not read this book, don't wait another moment. The business of business is now primarily the formation of cartels and monopolies and this profoundly... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Doctor S 457337
Mr. Lynn has opened my eyes and explained in detail how we have been cornered by self-serving capitalistic politicians than have maneuvered the American Dream into a small corner... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Chuck Lively
I'm a lawyer and humanities type with only a basic understanding of economics and the operation of markets. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Keith Hodges
Good book for anyone wanting to broaden their horizons regarding big industry.Published 11 months ago by Robert Christopher
I thought this book was novel and interesting due to its focus on the power that large merchants and middlemen have on upstream and downstream market participants, and especially... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Mark M