Biden and Bezos are both proud capitalists | Notice
Now that the federal government has turned off the faucet on stimulus checks, colloquially known as ‘stay home and smoke your bong’ money, there is a new executive order that aims to break the grip of corporate power. and stimulate the economy through innovation. .
On July 9, President Joe Biden issued his order “Promoting Competition in the US Economy”. It contains 72 guidelines which are good read for people with insomnia, but which will have virtually no impact on “promoting competition”. At least we can be thankful that he avoids additional import tariffs to make America a big novelty.
This order puts the topic of corporate empowerment on the table, and it hopefully stimulates a solid conversation about what these trends mean for workers and consumers and how we organize (or further disorganize) our society. . Of course, the conversation on the Hill is not one-sided; there is bipartisan support to curb the excesses of big tech, namely Google and Facebook. Likewise, the prevalence of employee non-compete agreements is a shared concern – their use by the fast food industry is of particular concern.
If you step back and look at the main historical drivers, there is a clear trend towards monopolies in industries in our country and around the world, a trend that makes this decree and its 72 directives appear as mere footnotes of page of this larger frame. Tim Wu, a law professor, who wrote “The Curse of Bigness” and helped draft these guidelines, calls the White House initiative “an intellectual revolution to which the president has joined.” In itself, this is political anti-intellectual bluster.
One thing is certain: the 1 percent, the titans of the industry, have nothing to fear here. The language is milquetoast – the baggage reimbursement clause for lost or delayed baggage will undoubtedly thrill the airline oligopoly – and even thorns like this can be challenged as federal courts are now stacked up. with pro-business judges.
“I am a proud capitalist,” Biden exclaims, as he compared this proposal to Teddy Roosevelt facing John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil. By the turn of the 20th century, the line between public and private interests was clear; when Roosevelt acted, he did so because of “public injury” and there was broad popular support for the break-up of Standard Oil and other monopolies.
The regulatory role of government and the wealth-generating interests of today’s mega-corporations are not only entangled, a truer understanding is that corporations run government rather than just influence government. All you have to do is just go through the list of firm appointees and follow them before and after the boards they call home. These comfortable country club memberships will not be threatened anytime soon.
At the top of the antitrust table at the 19th hole is Amazon. Does Amazon exploit its warehouse workers? Do they force sellers to use their execution and other services? Are they eliminating competition in favor of their own branded products? You bet. And they also have an insatiable appetite to grow through major acquisitions, like the recently proposed $ 8.45 billion acquisition of film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
What is less than amusing for Amazon is that the new FTC President, Lina Khan, has cut off the festivities. (Unlike Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, who is invited to parties at the Bezos). Her credentials do not include membership on a board of directors and include writing an article titled “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox” while she was a law student at Yale. Amazon has formally written to the FTC stating that it has an obvious bias and should not be allowed to participate in decisions affecting them.
It’s sure to be a David and Goliath story worthy of the movie of the week. We live in an age of pay-to-play corporate socialism, and while we know this recent decree won’t change the status quo of the system, it will be interesting to see how this drama plays out.
Rather than dealing with bland claims of being a “proud capitalist,” monopoly or no monopoly, we would all be better off if this administration acted on values that cooperate rather than compete with nature.
After years of globetrotting, Broadman finds himself writing from his perch on the Palouse and loving the view. Its guidance notes are available on US Renew News: https://www.usrenews.org/