Increasing numbers of analysts, both political economists and journalists, have noted the strong trend in recent years to concentration — the reduction of the number of firms in an ever increasing number of industries. They have remarked on the apparently close relationship between the increase in concentration and the rise of monopoly/oligopoly, which has opened the way in turn for firms to impose rising prices, take higher profits, and enjoy ascending equity values. What lies behind these tendencies? Our speakers will explore their causes, looking at the place of collaboration between companies in limiting competition and setting prices, and especially the growing part played by the government in protecting firms’ markets through public policy. The astounding level of profits routinely garnered by such firms as Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google is a core feature of today’s economy. Is this understandable merely in terms of their extraordinary technology, or is it actually increasingly attributable to radically increased intellectual property rights, a central feature of still expanding neoliberalism?
Dean Baker Co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research and author of Rigged: How Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy Were Structured to Make the Rich Richer
Michael Lind Professor of Public Policy at the University of Texas in Austin and author of Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States and The American Way of Strategy: U.S. Foreign Policy and the American Way of Life