[Ebook] ↠ The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age Author Tim Wu – Writerscompany.co.uk

As the ideological tectonic plates shift in America, many apparently settled matters have become unsettled This creates, at the same time, both conflict and strange bedfellows, though I suspect the latter will become used to each other soon enough Such once settled matters include hot button cultural matters like nationalism, but also dry, technical matters of little apparent general interest that are of profound actual importance Among these are the place in our society of concentrations of economic and therefore political power, the subject of the excellent Tim Wu s awesome new book, The Curse of Bigness What Wu is hawking is Neo Brandeisianism, and I am buying what he is selling.Wu, a Columbia Law professor and sometime unsuccessful reformist Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor of New York, writes mostly on the intersection of technology and social organization His most recent earlier book, The Attention Merchants, focused on the downsides of advertising in the modern world, especially as mediated by the Lords of Tech That book offered measured, practical ways to address the problems identified, which seems to be a Wu specialty This book focuses on economic concentration through its legal treatment, under antitrust law, for the past one hundred and thirty years.The Curse of Bigness is a short and pu Monopoly is a monster with many faces You can think of it as a structural pillar of the kind of politics we rejected in the forties and the late eighties, you can look at it from the angle of the businessman or the consumer or you can take the legal angle.In this 120 page monograph, which is decidedly not cursed by bigness, author Tim Wu gives a thorough and entertaining history of the legal aspects of anti trust from 1890 to today You get flattering, but not fawning, profiles of the main protagonists, like Teddy Roosevelt and Louis Brandeis and a slightly less reverential look at Robert Bork, whom like the author I first heard of as part of the block Bork movement when I was an undergrad.In short, the very broadly written 1890 Sherman Act was originally left alone, but the assassination of McKinley set in motion the forces for it to be interpreted Tim Wu choses the word activated by Trustbuster Teddy Roosevelt as a warrant to battle men who had become powerful than the government they were meant to answer to, starting with an anti JP Morgan campaign in the Northern Trust case and moving on to JD Rockefeller s Standard Oil The point is made that the law was interpreted The history of monopoly in the US began as an economics eugenics movement targeting those seen as unfit to deserve industrial life, Tim Wu writes in The Curse of Bigness Antitrust in the New Gilded Age Wu s book, a history of monopoly power and public policy in America from the late 1800s onward, is particularly useful to revisit in this current age of monopoly of tech firms, big pharma, airlines, and other industries Its also illuminating in showing how tussles over market concentration created openings in the modern American economy that made possible the tech and internet industries that exist today When the Trust movement first began, America was a nation of decentralized and distributed economic activity, dominated by many small producers farmers, professional service providers, shop owners scattered throughout the country, working for themselves and trading amongst each other Clever financiers including J.P Morgan meanwhile believed that, just as man had come from apes, monopolies were the natur Such an important and short book on the necessity of reviving old school trust busting Wu does an excellent job showing what went wrong basically, Chicago school econ and Bork He s absolutely right that the curre Persuasive And Brilliantly Written, The Book Is Especially Timely Given The Rise Of Trillion Dollar Tech Companies Publishers Weekly From The Man Who Coined The Term Net Neutrality, Author Of The Master Switch And The Attention Merchants, Comes A Warning About The Dangers Of Excessive Corporate And Industrial Concentration For Our Economic And Political Future.We Live In An Age Of Extreme Corporate Concentration, In Which Global Industries Are Controlled By Just A Few Giant Firms Big Banks, Big Pharma, And Big Tech, Just To Name A Few But Concern Over What Louis Brandeis Called The Curse Of Bigness Can No Longer Remain The Province Of Specialist Lawyers And Economists, For It Has Spilled Over Into Policy And Politics, Even Threatening Democracy Itself History Suggests That Tolerance Of Inequality And Failing To Control Excessive Corporate Power May Prompt The Rise Of Populism, Nationalism, Extremist Politicians, And Fascist Regimes In Short, As Wu Warns, We Are In Grave Danger Of Repeating The Signature Errors Of The Twentieth Century.In The Curse Of Bigness, Columbia Professor Tim Wu Tells Of How Figures Like Brandeis And Theodore Roosevelt First Confronted The Democratic Threats Posed By The Great Trusts Of The Gilded Age But The Lessons Of The Progressive Era Were Forgotten In The Last 40 Years He Calls For Recovering The Lost Tenets Of The Trustbusting Age As Part Of A Broader Revival Of American Progressive Ideas As We Confront The Fallout Of Persistent And Extreme Economic Inequality. The second book in a week I have read about the necessity of Anti trust and the danger of large Monopolies and oligopolies on our democracy Again wisdom gained in the early twentieth century forgotten and a return to I remember going to the House Judiciary Committee created Antitrust Modernization Commission s sole public interest hearing in DC There was hardly anyone who wasn t a lobbyist or industry friendly regulator in the room The panel and the presentations were all made by corporate lawyers When the floor was opened up for public comment, I asked why there were no public interest representatives from, for example, consumer groups after all, modern antitrust doctrine has narrowed the question down to price theory and consumer harm , or labor unions or family farmers or small businessesMy question was received with an incomprehensible blank stare, then a response delivered by the chair w o reference to who had raised the question Which was something like this As for the question of balance, this panel is clearly balanced We have representatives chosen by both Democratic and Republican members of the committee In other words, both Democrats and Republicans had an opportunity to pick K Street lawyers represented here If you think t A short book about the seemingly dry subject of antitrust that revealed itself instead to be urgently important and incredibly readable to me as a layman in the area Wu s brief history of antitrust s origins and strong enforcement in the early to mid 20th century is informative and compelling, but even so I enjoyed his detailed recommendations for how and why we should now return to that tradition in the early 21st century.In light of the increasing economic anxieties that currently dominate political socioeconomic discussions, Wu argues for an alternative to two other popular ideas for solving capitalism s current ills Where the far right seems to believe purely unregulated free market capitalism will be the cure and the far left has re popularized rejecting capitalism entirely for socialism, Wu argues for re acknowledging antitrust s original goal A very short book, it is nonetheless a very timely book Wu is a law professor at Columbia University He brought us back to the Gilded Age where monopolies such as Standard Oil use unscrupulous tactics to either buy out or bankrupt their competitors Then they enjoyed price setting power and innovation suffers, and consumers have to pay a lot More recently however, Bush had settled the Microsoft anti trust case that ended than 10 years of hard work Nowadays it is assumed that the Big Four Tech companies should be allowed to run monopolies because they are efficient They have been buying out the Tim Wu s The Attention Merchants is one my most favorite books read to date on the media industry and as a result I have vowed to keep abreast of everything he writes The Curse of Bigness is his most recent and, like his other books, is extremely well written, full of persuasive arguments and historical context, and also a pleasure to read But something is amiss The book s premise is to make sense of the growing income inequality in the US and points to the trend towards industrial concentration over the past 20 years as one of the leading causes Interesting thesis, but unfortunately the book lacks any proof This is a major The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age


About the Author: Tim Wu

Tim Wu is an author, a professor at Columbia Law School, and a contributing writer for the New York Times. He has written about technology in numerous publications, and coined the phrase net neutrality.


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