When you think of a monopoly, does it sound good or bad? And no, not the game where you buy real estate and get money for passing “Go.” In this interview, our hosts Philip Michael and Tal Heinrich talk to Sally Hubbard about our the impact of monopolies. And according to Hubbard’s book, monopolies suck. Yes, our society praises big-tech company Amazon for its convenience, features and prices. But Hubbard argues that the issues caused by Amazon outweigh its glimmering one-stop-shop qualities. Let’s take a little dive into the dark side of monopolies and how to fight the system if you’re ready to break up big business.
3 ways monopolies may negatively impact citizens
There are three ways that Hubbard strongly believes monopolies suck.
- Taking away from citizens’ economic opportunities. When monopolies expand, they usually decimate small businesses. If you’re an entrepreneur, big business can bust your business plan before you even begin. Also, if your community loses small businesses, it can drain the local government’s coffers – the allotted amount of money they can spend. Who makes up the difference? Taxpayers.
- Lowering the standard for employee treatment. There are other ways to look at monopolies besides the consumer perspective. As for blue-collar workers, Amazon has received some very public criticism about how they treat their employees. If you dominate the industry, why offer competitive employee benefits?
- Making consumers pay higher prices. Hubbard points out that some studies show Amazon losing at the “cheapest price” game. When monopolies gain more ground, they eliminate competition. Get rid of the competition, and you can name your price.
Eliminating the “get out of jail free” card
A common cry of people against big business is to enact change with your pocketbook. But Hubbard says that “your power as a citizen is much stronger.” If you’re passionate about breaking up monopolies, you may be interested in antitrust laws. Let’s break it down. There are three, core federal antitrust laws that are meant to protect competition and make sure there are “strong incentives for businesses to operate efficiently, keep prices down and keep quality up.” And according to the FTC, states’ antitrust laws are enforced by states’ attorneys general or private plaintiffs. Once you know the legislation and who enforces it, you can encourage your state’s lawmakers to prioritize the safety of consumers and small businesses over monopolies. Maybe your voice is the key to taking away big companies’ “Get out of jail free” card.