Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism and the Economics of Destruction Paperback – December 1, 2011
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
"Sometimes the evidence of economic disaster is right in front of your eyes, but you can't see how all the pieces fit together. Then a book comes along to explain things, and suddenly everything meshes. Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism and the Economics of Destruction is that kind of a book." (huffingtonpost.com, February 11, 2010) --This text refers to the Digital edition.
From the Inside Flap
You're at the mall, looking to buy a pair of prescription sunglasses. Which of the four eyeglass stores listed in the directory should you visit first? Don't waste a lot of time deciding; it really doesn't matter. A single, huge international corporation owns three of the four eyeglass stores listed. And the fourth? Out of business. Think you'll try your luck at Sears? Don't bother. The same company you've never heard of controls their eyewear department, too. What appears at first to be a fine example of competitive capitalism in action is, in fact, an immense monopoly in disguise. And it's far from being the only one.
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. --This text refers to the Digital edition.
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. Especially in the USA where the Congress has abandoned any rational fiscal policies depending solely on the monetary policies of the Federal Reserve to get us out of the recession, the situation is even more dangerous since the money that the Federal Reserve creates ends up only in the hands of the top five percent as easy money with that newly created wealth trickling down only as loans from them to the other 95% of the population expanding income inequality further.
The other side of the coin, the consumer, is equally important to capitalism. Think of it this way: if most of the wealth in the world is owned by a few people, then who is there to buy the goods being manufactured by the businesses except the basic needs to survive? Also, if it is the same five percent that controls the global governments then how can governments collect enough tax revenue to balance their budgets and meet the minimum expenses such as the cost of keeping the nations secure with modern infrastructure etc. when the majority cannot afford to pay taxes (without going into debt) and those who have the money to pay the taxes will not allow the government to tax them since they own the governments (and the media will not report those since they also own the media)?
Lynn has not provided a rational solution to this sorry situation obviously because he does not have any. In fact I have not come across anyone who seemed to understand this problem in its entirety for what it is and then come up with a sensible answer (or it is possible that those who understand the situation is too scared to tell it the way it is and come up with rational solutions).
When we turn on the US media mostly we hear from television personalities are that we should give even more tax cuts to those wealthy few who own both the businesses and the government. They don't tell us where to go to collect revenue. They also go on talking about the need to cut more and more expenditure (except the welfare for the rich) but do not point out where to cut the expenditure specifically. Scared of the media wrath, some cities have begun to eliminate even their police departments. They may find it much less threatening to eliminate the police department than asking (in other words taxing) those few people in the city who hold most of the money to help them out; hell hath no fury like the super wealthy requested a sacrifice. Ultimately the super wealthy have the money to hire private security (as it is done in places like Brazil) whereas the middleclass is who will be exposed to crimes by the destitute with nothing to lose.
I am glad Lynn wrote this book although reading it depressed me as much as reading any book that contains political truth or hearing any political show giving us facts and truth. The truth has to be known even if it is bitter. Unfortunately this book will not be read by those who can make a difference in this world. And that is a thought that makes us totally helpless. I hope somehow someone will find a way to get this book to the right people (if there are still right people with influence left).