Monopoly or Democracy?

Author:Hightower, Jim
Position:VOX POPULIST - Column

America's political history has been written in the fierce narrative of war--not only our country's many military clashes with foreign nations, but also our own unending war for democracy.

Generation after generation of moneyed elites have persisted in trying to take wealth and power from the workaday majority and concentrate both of those things in their wealthy hands to establish a de facto American aristocracy. Every time, the people have rebelled in organized mass struggles against the monopolist and financial royalists literally battling for a little more economic fairness, social justice, and equal opportunity. And now, the time of rebellion is upon us again, for We the People are suddenly in the grip of a brutish level of monopolistic power.

Corporate concentration of markets, profits, workplace decision-making, political influence, and our nation's wealth is surpassing that of the infamous era of robber barons. Apple, which recently became the first U.S. corporation to reach a stock value of a trillion dollars (followed in short order by Amazon), is now larger than Bank of America, Boeing, Disney, Ford, and Volkswagen combined.

Just five tech superpowers--Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google's parent company Alphabet, and Netflix--have raked in half of this year's stock price gains by the 500 top corporations ranked by the Standard & Poor's index. A recent gold rush of corporate mergers has created mega-firms and shriveled competition in most industries, including airlines, banks, drug companies, food, hospitals, hotels, law firms, media, oil, and more.

As corporations get fewer and bigger, they come to attain immense power over the rest of us. They are able to control workers' pay, crush unions, jack up prices, squeeze out smaller businesses, dominate elections, weak en environmental projections... and become even fewer, bigger, and more powerful. Thus, they are waging all-out corporate class war on the American people, and on our democratic ideals, and they're winning.

These monopolies are virulently anti-American, suppressing our fundamental values of fairness and opportunity for all. That's why, throughout our history, the people have instinctively rebelled at the arrogant assertions of monopoly avarice--the Boston Tea Party, the Populist Movement, the rise of unions, Teddy...

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