The Modern Monopolist in Our Midst

The "free" in free markets is not an adjective, it's a verb -- we must diligently work to free the market of conniving monopolists who try to lock it down and rule like autocrats.

A century ago, Robber Barons like Rockefeller and Carnegie used their riches to put a chokehold on commerce, buying off governments and media while crushing competitors, workers, and entire communities. The monopolist is a brute, and that's why the Populists and finally the Democrats and even trust-busting Republicans like Teddy Roosevelt responded to grassroots demands to free the market, using such tools as anti-monopoly laws, labor reforms, and small business protection.

But monopoly continues to rear its ugly head. Today, there's a new brute on the block, exerting more power over America's economy than the Robber Barons could dream of. It is Wal-Mart. Behind the aw-shucks, smiley-faced demeanor portrayed in its ads, this giant is now not merely the largest corporation in the world, but the dominating economic power in our country, able to use its brute financial clout to monopolize practically any market it bulls into.

Its monopoly exists because, first, it has grabbed a chokehold on the retail supply chain, able to dictate its price to the thousands of manufacturers that put products in its stores, even compelling these companies to lower their wages or to move their manufacturing to China. Second, Wal-Mart doesn't play fair in the local market. When it moves into your community, it can drop its prices and lose money for months without affecting its overall profits, for it has thousands of stores. Your local hardware, grocery, pharmacy, and others can't do that, so they are crushed -- not by Wal-Mart's work ethic or efficiency, but by its brute monopoly force.

The bottom line is that Wal-Mart shrinks our economy, destroys middle-class wages, changes the face of our communities, and erodes America's values of fairness, justice, and opportunity. It's time to free the market again.

#story_page_post_article

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.