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Antitrust: Taking on Monopoly Power from the Gilded Age to the Digital Age

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Antitrust enforcement is one of the most pressing issues facing America today—and Amy Klobuchar, the widely respected senior senator from Minnesota, is leading the charge. This fascinating history of the antitrust movement shows us what led to the present moment and offers achievable solutions to prevent monopolies, promote business competition, and encourage innovation. In Antitrust enforcement is one of the most pressing issues facing America today—and Amy Klobuchar, the widely respected senior senator from Minnesota, is leading the charge. This fascinating history of the antitrust movement shows us what led to the present moment and offers achievable solutions to prevent monopolies, promote business competition, and encourage innovation. In a world where Google reportedly controls 90 percent of the search engine market and Big Pharma’s drug price hikes impact healthcare accessibility, monopolies can hurt consumers and cause marketplace stagnation. Klobuchar—the much-admired former candidate for president of the United States—argues for swift, sweeping reform in economic, legislative, social welfare, and human rights policies, and describes plans, ideas, and legislative proposals designed to strengthen antitrust laws and antitrust enforcement. Klobuchar writes of the historic and current fights against monopolies in America, from Standard Oil and the Sherman Anti-Trust Act to the Progressive Era's trust-busters; from the breakup of Ma Bell (formerly the world's biggest company and largest private telephone system) to the pricing monopoly of Big Pharma and the future of the giant tech companies like Facebook, Amazon, and Google. She begins with the Gilded Age (1870s-1900), when builders of fortunes and rapacious robber barons such as J. P. Morgan, John Rockefeller, and Cornelius Vanderbilt were reaping vast fortunes as industrialization swept across the American landscape, with the rich getting vastly richer and the poor, poorer. She discusses President Theodore Roosevelt, who, during the Progressive Era (1890s-1920), "busted" the trusts, breaking up monopolies; the Clayton Act of 1914; the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914; and the Celler-Kefauver Act of 1950, which it strengthened the Clayton Act. She explores today's Big Pharma and its price-gouging; and tech, television, content, and agriculture communities and how a marketplace with few players, or one in which one company dominates distribution, can hurt consumer prices and stifle innovation. As the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights, Klobuchar provides a fascinating exploration of antitrust in America and offers a way forward to protect all Americans from the dangers of curtailed competition, and from vast information gathering, through monopolies.


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Antitrust enforcement is one of the most pressing issues facing America today—and Amy Klobuchar, the widely respected senior senator from Minnesota, is leading the charge. This fascinating history of the antitrust movement shows us what led to the present moment and offers achievable solutions to prevent monopolies, promote business competition, and encourage innovation. In Antitrust enforcement is one of the most pressing issues facing America today—and Amy Klobuchar, the widely respected senior senator from Minnesota, is leading the charge. This fascinating history of the antitrust movement shows us what led to the present moment and offers achievable solutions to prevent monopolies, promote business competition, and encourage innovation. In a world where Google reportedly controls 90 percent of the search engine market and Big Pharma’s drug price hikes impact healthcare accessibility, monopolies can hurt consumers and cause marketplace stagnation. Klobuchar—the much-admired former candidate for president of the United States—argues for swift, sweeping reform in economic, legislative, social welfare, and human rights policies, and describes plans, ideas, and legislative proposals designed to strengthen antitrust laws and antitrust enforcement. Klobuchar writes of the historic and current fights against monopolies in America, from Standard Oil and the Sherman Anti-Trust Act to the Progressive Era's trust-busters; from the breakup of Ma Bell (formerly the world's biggest company and largest private telephone system) to the pricing monopoly of Big Pharma and the future of the giant tech companies like Facebook, Amazon, and Google. She begins with the Gilded Age (1870s-1900), when builders of fortunes and rapacious robber barons such as J. P. Morgan, John Rockefeller, and Cornelius Vanderbilt were reaping vast fortunes as industrialization swept across the American landscape, with the rich getting vastly richer and the poor, poorer. She discusses President Theodore Roosevelt, who, during the Progressive Era (1890s-1920), "busted" the trusts, breaking up monopolies; the Clayton Act of 1914; the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914; and the Celler-Kefauver Act of 1950, which it strengthened the Clayton Act. She explores today's Big Pharma and its price-gouging; and tech, television, content, and agriculture communities and how a marketplace with few players, or one in which one company dominates distribution, can hurt consumer prices and stifle innovation. As the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights, Klobuchar provides a fascinating exploration of antitrust in America and offers a way forward to protect all Americans from the dangers of curtailed competition, and from vast information gathering, through monopolies.

58 review for Antitrust: Taking on Monopoly Power from the Gilded Age to the Digital Age

  1. 5 out of 5

    Marks54

    This book is a different mix from what I am used to reading on topics like antitrust. First, its a book on antitrust by a non specialist and a non economist (although the author is an attorney). For those who have not read much antitrust, it is complicated - very complicated - so the idea of an account by a generalist is well “different” (I do not speak Minnesotan, so I do not mean that as a negative). The book is readable and engaging. Substantively, it seems very much on line with more traditio This book is a different mix from what I am used to reading on topics like antitrust. First, its a book on antitrust by a non specialist and a non economist (although the author is an attorney). For those who have not read much antitrust, it is complicated - very complicated - so the idea of an account by a generalist is well “different” (I do not speak Minnesotan, so I do not mean that as a negative). The book is readable and engaging. Substantively, it seems very much on line with more traditional approaches to antitrust and is consistent with the research literature. Second, the book is part memoir by an active leading politician who had aspirations (at least until recently) and shows no plans for retirement. I generally stay clear of such books but it seems to work for Senator Klobachar. You do not get the sense that you are being strongly marketed towards. Hey, she even puts in the state of the art in antitrust jokes! Third, it is a policy program that is fairly specific and fits in well with the new administration’s economic goals. This is intriguing, especially since the prior administration lacked a compelling antitrust program and seemed to shun experts and policy advisors along the way. It is also current, in that there has been increasing discussion of antitrust in recent years and Europe is initiating action against big tech and against Apple this week. I appreciate the somewhat wonkish focus for a book that aims at a more popular audience. There is far too little in popular political discussion about how policies can translate general economic goals into real activities that affect how people actually live. Klobuchar’s book is valuable for showing how monopoly and related bad behaviors by very big firms can harm real people and harm them in large numbers. If readers wish to follow up, there are lots of notes and easily accessible sources. What I particularly enjoyed was how the book articulated a set of challenges, some of which seemed more general than antitrust, and showed how antitrust issues fit in to these problem areas in a big way. The move from the general to the more specific to the perhaps practical is well done here. It is worth noting that the book has a clear perspective and readers not sharing it should know that up front. The book is still worth reading even if one disagrees with the author.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lee Frederick

    Clearly US needs to revive this agenda. Well documented--

  3. 4 out of 5

    Marsha

    I suppose that this is nominally addressed to Amy Klobuchar: I rarely give a book 5 stars, although a nonfiction book is far more likely to receive five than a fiction book, but it's still not a guarantee; in order for me to grant a book order for me to grant the highest rating, said book has to both be interesting and it has to teach me something. This book fits in both categories. I did study one year of economics in college, but I hated it, and it didn't teach me anything. I expect that my att I suppose that this is nominally addressed to Amy Klobuchar: I rarely give a book 5 stars, although a nonfiction book is far more likely to receive five than a fiction book, but it's still not a guarantee; in order for me to grant a book order for me to grant the highest rating, said book has to both be interesting and it has to teach me something. This book fits in both categories. I did study one year of economics in college, but I hated it, and it didn't teach me anything. I expect that my attitude had a lot to do with it; for one thing I was interested in in mathematics and science, not social science or law. For another thing, the Econ 101 was microeconomics, and cared more about people reading graphs (which, as a mathematician, I was more than able to do), and in general the topics covered were memorization and logic. (My undergraduate was at your alma mater, University of Chicago from late 1979 through early 1983 :-) – I am more than a little disappointed that the Chicago version of antitrust was so warped! But I was an undergraduate scientist and totally disconnected from those ideas generally!) I now know more about monopolies and antitrust than I ever did, and I thank your book! I have to admit to being more than a little biased – I am a diehard left left left wing Democrat! I believe in people, not specifically money! I grew up in lily white wealthy Naperville, Illinois, but I came from Hyde Park, Chicago in 1967. My family didn't fit in (for one thing, we're Jewish), and we had posters all over the house ranting against Nixon and the police state. Never mind that my parents have since be come rabid Republicans and diehard Trumpers (well, I'm not sure about my mom; she died in 2012, but I'm 90% sure she would've been). Anyway, what I'm saying is that the book was full of very good information and education, and I really think that it's a wonderful choice for anyone who has any doubts about our money system or the crooks running it!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ceil

    Fantastic survey of the history of anti-trust in America, and the lengths to which successful companies go to tilt all playing fields in their favor. A thoroughly non-compelling litany of "solutions," which reads more as campaign talking points than a focused prescription for competitive parity. Klobuchar has boundless confidence in the power of regulation to control behavior, and in the power of the Federal government to own anti-trust. Looking for nuance! Fantastic survey of the history of anti-trust in America, and the lengths to which successful companies go to tilt all playing fields in their favor. A thoroughly non-compelling litany of "solutions," which reads more as campaign talking points than a focused prescription for competitive parity. Klobuchar has boundless confidence in the power of regulation to control behavior, and in the power of the Federal government to own anti-trust. Looking for nuance!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    A "popular" history of the antitrust movement in the Progressive Era and what followed. Plus, a clear and well-argued policy platform for a renewed effort to rein in "Bigness" in what the author clearly hopes will be a post-Conservative return to a New Progressive agenda. An easy read on a difficult subject. Well-researched and documented. Rather repetitious at times, but easy to skim for its main points, especially if the reader has a decent grounding in the subject and its history. A "popular" history of the antitrust movement in the Progressive Era and what followed. Plus, a clear and well-argued policy platform for a renewed effort to rein in "Bigness" in what the author clearly hopes will be a post-Conservative return to a New Progressive agenda. An easy read on a difficult subject. Well-researched and documented. Rather repetitious at times, but easy to skim for its main points, especially if the reader has a decent grounding in the subject and its history.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Groucho42

    Excellent and detailed book about the history, the present and the needed future of antitrust legislation. It gives strong examples of why antitrust is needed, how both the laws and enforcement have seriously lagged, and what is needed to be done to fix it. While it's hard to believe that the current state of politics will allow the prescriptive suggestions to happen, it's important to try. Excellent and detailed book about the history, the present and the needed future of antitrust legislation. It gives strong examples of why antitrust is needed, how both the laws and enforcement have seriously lagged, and what is needed to be done to fix it. While it's hard to believe that the current state of politics will allow the prescriptive suggestions to happen, it's important to try.

  7. 5 out of 5

    James Byrne

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tim

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ostenfanse Lexuese Shkrimtare Austenfan Reader Writer

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jen

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    Natella

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    Asmae

  13. 5 out of 5

    Suellen Avolio

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    Felicitas

  15. 5 out of 5

    William Gillespie

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    Mr. Book

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    Laurie Redfern

  18. 5 out of 5

    Merril Medelin

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    Walter G

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    Sam

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    SB

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    Rose | Belletrist Anarchist

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    Karen Zachary

  45. 4 out of 5

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  55. 5 out of 5

    MGF

  56. 4 out of 5

    Belinda

  57. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Kwong

  58. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Fisher

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