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Big by Matt Stoller


Matt Stoller is a writer who focuses on monopoly power. He is the author of the Simon and Schuster book Goliath: The Hundred-Year War Between Monopoly Power and Democracy. He is the Research Director of the American Economic Liberties Project.

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1.  Congress to Pass Antitrust Laws?  

2022-05-20


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People are starting to get it. Corporate concentration is bad.

3.  Silence Is Golden  

2022-05-03


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Adam Ruins Everything creator Adam Conover reveals how a Time Warner merger led to censorship. His story isn't unusual. Corporations routinely censor on their own behalf.

4.  Why is Ghislaine Maxwell’s Lawyer Attacking Antitrust Enforcers?  

2022-04-21


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The Department of Justice Antitrust Division has gotten aggressive on white collar crime. So now there’s blowback from the defense bar, including some of the worst people in the world.

6.  “Economics is losing authority in the political arena”  

2022-04-07


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The architect of deregulation - former Senator Phil Gramm - attacked BIG in the Wall Street Journal. What an honor.

8.  Big Tech and the Beautiful Losers in Europe  

2022-03-31


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Margrethe Vestager gets a lot of headlines, but without results. It's time to stop taking her quest for headlines seriously, and to focus on whether there will be any impact from the new law.

10.  What Happens When Enforcers Stop Being Polite  

2022-03-29


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The FTC goes after TurboTax-maker Intuit for deceptive marketing at tax time, and the Antitrust Division blocks another merger in the supply chain space.

11.  On Amazon-MGM  

2022-03-23


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Why didn't the Federal Trade Commission challenge the Amazon acquisition of MGM Studios? And is this merger a big deal?

12.  Judges Behaving Badly: Amazon Antitrust Suit Dismissed  

2022-03-24


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It was a good week for Amazon, with the firm also closing on the MGM merger. But the antitrust meat grinder goes on.

15.  The Pentagon Knifes Wall Street  

2022-02-16


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A new report shows that defense officials are taking market power seriously.

18.  Mergers Ruin Everything  

2022-02-04


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Bad merger policy is why wealth and power is so consolidated in America. But last month, two government enforcers started to turn the table on the monopolies who run our economy.

19.  As the Big Tech World Turns  

2022-02-04


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Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon are in a soap opera for world domination. Apple decided to knife Facebook and share the surveillance ad revenue with Google.

20.  Sometimes Antitrust Is Rocket Science  

2022-02-01


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With the FTC challenging the Lockheed-Aerojet merger, 30 years of consolidation could be at an end.

21.  The Fed Can't Print Semiconductors  

2022-01-26


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Influential D.C. operator Jay Powell admits that antitrust might be key to bringing down prices. Certainly solving the semiconductor shortage is.

22.  Our Systems Are Down, So You Can't Have Your Medicine  

2022-01-26


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Monopolies create costs that are almost impossible to measure. But they are very real.

24.  Fear and Loathing in the Silicon Valley C-Suite  

2022-01-16


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Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai are demanding their minions in the Senate protect them. Will they? We'll see this week.

25.  Hope on the Horizon  

2022-01-16


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It's an ugly moment, but if you look closely, monopolies are beginning to lose.

27.  It's Not a Wonderful Life  

2021-12-22


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Community bankers ask regulator Rohit Chopra to block Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple from finance. And they pushed something called "banking neutrality."

28.  The Lina Khan Effect: Mega-Mergers "Plummeted in 2021"  

2021-12-22


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Leadership does make a difference as Wall Street aims for lots of small transactions instead of a few mega-mergers.

32.  Lucid-Cint: Is there a Rollup in Survey Research Technology?  

2021-11-30


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ResTech, or 'Research Technology,' is the next generation of customer research. And monopolization is coming along with automation.

34.  Pharmacists and the Picket Line  

2021-11-10


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Kaiser is trying to break a strike among its employees. It keeps upping the pay offer for pharmacists who cross the picket line.

36.  Monopolies Slowly Destroying the Pentagon  

2021-11-08


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Monopoly Supplier of Critical Pentagon Semiconductors Shuts Down Its Production.

39.  #PizzaIsNotWorking: Inside the Pharmacist Rebellion at CVS and Walgreens  

2021-11-05


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Workers and independent business people - even in the professional class - are supremely mad at monopolists. But they aren't looking to a political party for help.

40.  The Mustached Villain Behind the Rapid Covid Testing Shortage  

2021-11-04


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The Food and Drug Administration has too many people that like monopoly power.

41.  Hearing Aid Cartel Corrupts Build Back Better  

2021-11-01


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In draft legislation, Medicare Won't Pay for Over the Counter Hearing Aids and exempts hearing aids from competitive bidding requirements.

42.  Google to Customers: Help Us Fight Against Stronger Antitrust Laws  

2021-10-28


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Big tech is moving towards a slow declaration of war on Congress.

43.  Enough is Enough: The Criminal Case Against Mark Zuckerberg  

2021-10-29


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The rule of law does not apply to the powerful. It should. And Facebook is a good place to start.

46.  Reactions to the BIG Hearing Cartel Expose: “Quite the sh** storm”  

2021-10-22


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Finally, there's open discussion about the hearing aid cartel.

47.  Silencing the Competition: Inside the Fight Against the Hearing Aid Cartel  

2021-10-21


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Hearing aids are big business, and a cartel controls the industry through mergers, patents, deals with insurance companies, and control of audiologists. Will Biden's plan to stop them work?

48.  Will an Obscure Internet Law Screw Up Your Credit Score?  

2021-10-20


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Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act has created the dumpster fire of today's internet. Regulators Lina Khan and Rohit Chopra are fighting to stop it from applying to finance.

50.  Economists to Cattle Ranchers: Stop Being So Emotional About the Monopolies Devouring Your Family Businesses  

2021-10-15


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Agricultural economists manipulated data to block Congress from acting on high beef prices and the destruction of independent cattle ranching. Why? Because they think monopolies are good.

51.  A Big Announcement About BIG  

2021-10-12


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Containing commercial power in a democracy is fundamental to our liberty. That's why I write about it. That's why this newsletter resonates so widely. Here's how you can help us take the next step.

52.  Will Monopolies Steal the Infrastructure Money?  

2021-10-07


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We tend to talk about infrastructure in terms of spending amounts. But infrastructure in a monopoly-dominated economy is not just about money, it's about who governs.

54.  The Facebook Whistleblower Is Heroic... And Terribly Wrong  

2021-10-07


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Frances Haugen got a lot right. But a digital regulator that legitimizes Facebook's power would be the worst possible outcome.

55.  The Corrupt System Behind Covid Medical Shortages  

2021-09-27


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Why are we still facing shortages of masks and medicine a year and a half after the start of the pandemic? Because a buying cartel controls medical supplies, and has for 25 years.

56.  “Accountability is coming:“ Did Mark Zuckerberg Violate Insider Trading Laws?  

2021-09-23


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He probably did. So did Sheryl Sandberg and a bunch of other Facebook insiders. Handcuffs. It's time for them.

57.  The Subversion of Patents  

2021-09-22


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Patents used to promote innovation. Now it's a tool to stop it.

59.  Counterfeit Capitalism: Why a Monopolized Economy Leads to Inflation and Shortages  

2021-09-10


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From railroads to plastic bags to semiconductors to ice cream, Wall Street and monopolists are creating shortages and exploiting them.

60.  Lina Khan Leads the Government's New Attempt to Break Up Facebook  

2021-09-10


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The FTC's narrative is that Mark Zuckerberg isn't very good at developing technology, so he built a monopoly instead. Will that story lead to a break-up? And how long will a trial and appeal take?

61.  Fresh After Afghanistan, Defense Contractors Try Sneaking In Another Corrupt Provision into Law  

2021-09-02


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Raytheon wants DOD to buy commercial items. What's wrong with that? Everything.

62.  What Broken McDonald's Ice Cream Machines Tell Us About Shortages  

2021-09-02


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Monopolists make money by forcing us to rely on over-engineered crappy machines. And those over-engineered crappy machines cause shortages.

63.  How Defense Monopolies Helped Destroy the Afghan Army  

2021-08-26


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The cost of bad military contracting isn't just waste. It is catastrophe.

65.  Other People's Money: The Email Monopoly Gouging Investors Over Shareholder Reports  

2021-08-25


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Broadridge Financial Solutions charges 25 cents to send an email to investors on behalf of firms and brokers.

67.  How ESPN's Monopoly Power Is Consolidating College Football  

2021-08-01


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Disney's ESPN is rearranging how college athletics works. Why? Market power.

69.  Anti-Monopoly Midterm Election Candidates Begin to Emerge  

2021-07-17


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On the right and left, candidates are asking voters to vote on whether big is bad.

70.  “A Real S*** Show”: Soldiers Angrily Speak Out about Being Blocked from Repairing Equipment by Contractors:  

2021-07-17


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Louis Rossmann has created a movement around right to repair. It's not just iPhones. It's everywhere.

72.  Another Day, Another Hack Via a Private Equity Owned Software Firm  

2021-07-04


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This time it's Insight Partners and its portfolio software firm Kaseya whose product allowing 200 corporations to get hacked on July 4th weekend.

73.  Chinese Fashion House Shein and Trade Loopholes  

2021-07-02


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Shein is dominating with ultra-low prices for Chinese made goods. The reason is a Trump-era tax loophole.

74.  Anti-Monopolists Strike at Meatpackers and Support Domestic Cattle Producers  

2021-07-02


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The Federal Trade Commission can now investigate swaths of the economy. And the USDA and FTC are helping domestic cattle ranchers with new Made in USA labeling.

75.  A Private Equity Giant Trained the Group that Assassinated Jamal Khashoggi  

2021-06-24


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Private equity is everywhere. Cerberus Capital Management even had its hand in training authoritarian killers.

76.  Why a Pro-Monopoly Supreme Court Ruled Against the NCAA Monopoly  

2021-06-22


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Louis Brandeis once said, “If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable.” The court had to rule against this well-known tyrant, or it would lose its credibility.

78.  New York Returns as an Anti-Monopoly Powerhouse  

2021-06-12


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Right to repair. Antitrust. Pharmacy Benefits Manager. The Empire State is back.

79.  Harvard Business Review Recommends Private Equity Focus on Monopolization  

2021-06-10


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All the easy profits are gone. Market power is the only piece left.

80.  Australia Forced Google and Facebook to Pay for News... And They Did  

2021-06-03


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The Australian law caused a massive freak-out. A link tax! This will break the internet! It turns out, not so much.

81.  Private Equity and the Hacking of the New York Subway System  

2021-06-03


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Another day, another cyber security problem caused by a PE owned software firm.

82.  New York State to Revolutionize Antitrust  

2021-06-07


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The Amazon H2Q fight in 2019 woke up the anti-monopolists in New York. Now they are moving forward with a new stronger trust-busting law.

83.  Biden vs The Deep State: Hearing Aid Edition  

2021-05-29


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Why is the FDA refusing to allow competition in the hearing aid market? Habit, probably.

84.  Amazon Prime Is an Economy-Distorting Lie  

2021-05-30


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A new antitrust case shows that Prime inflates prices across the board, using the false promise of 'free shipping' that is anything but free.

85.  Plymouth Rock's Grist Mill: America's First Businesses Were Public Utilities  

2021-05-21


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At Plymouth, I saw one of America's first independent businesses. It had regulated prices and consumer protection laws.

86.  How a Cheerleading Monopolist Played Rough During the Pandemic  

2021-05-17


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After mass layoffs, Bain Capital's Varsity Brands is now a “cash flow” machine. It also faces risks from an increasingly angry cheer community.

87.  AT&T Admits Its Time Warner Merger Failed  

2021-05-17


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Time Warner ex-CEO Jeff Bewkes got a $400 million golden parachute. Everything else about the merger was a disaster.

89.  Why Are There Shortages of Plastic Bags Needed for Vaccine Production? Monopolies and Patents.  

2021-05-11


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A pharma talking point is “Plastic bags are a bigger bottleneck than patents.” It's time to ask, why is that?

90.  How a Nuclear Missile Monopolist Is Getting a Quarter Trillion Dollar Pentagon Contract  

2021-03-23


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The Pentagon and FTC allowed Northrop to monopolize nuclear missile production in 2018. Now it is in line for a $264 billion sole source contract, unless antitrust enforcers step.

91.  What Can We Learn from a Big Boat Stuck in a Canal?  

2021-03-29


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Financiers thinned out our supply chains. That was a risky bet.

92.  The Big Dumb Ship Problem Is Much Worse Than We Think  

2021-03-30


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What Happens If a Big Dumb Ship Falls Over in the Entrance Channel to a Major Port?

93.  Razor Blade Wars, Part One: Harry's Ends the Safety Razor Cartel  

2021-04-01


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The FTC stopped Schick razor maker Edgewell from buying Harry's. Harry's is now expanding and challenging consumer packaged giants in other segments.

94.  Keep McKinsey Away from Biden's Infrastructure Push  

2021-04-05


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McKinsey is overpriced and corrupt. It is also gunning for government cash.

95.  Google ex-CEO Eric Schmidt Calls for Full Communism  

2021-04-05


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Don’t trust bust me, don’t trust bust thee, attack the monopoly behind the tree.

96.  Razor Blade Wars Part II: Amazon and Walmart's Role in Shaving  

2021-04-09


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The FTC blocked the Harry's takeover. Walmart made moves in response. And Amazon signed an exclusive deal with Dorco razors, degrading their quality.

97.  Why Logitech Just Killed the Universal Remote Control Industry  

2021-04-10


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Monopolies are lazy. Logitech bought, monopolized, and killed the universal remote control business.

98.  Bill Clinton Wrote the Law That Created Our Big Dumb Ship Problem  

2021-04-10


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It's never just economies of scale. Monopolies happen because of laws, in this case the the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 1998.

99.  When Google's Fancy Lawyers Screw Up and Jeopardize Sheryl Sandberg, at $1500/Hour  

2021-04-11


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A redacted document showed extremely sensitive information. Google's lawyer accidentally made it public.

100.  Why Is Clarence Thomas Attacking Google?  

2021-04-12


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Republicans are increasingly caught between big business and social conservatives. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in turn has started making anti-monopoly arguments.

101.  Senator Jon Ossoff Breaks A Key Battery Bottleneck  

2021-04-13


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The new Georgia Senator saved a battery plant in Georgia, helping to undermine Chinese control over a critical input.

102.  Big Supermarkets Kill Your Favorite Products  

2021-04-19


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The biggest supermarkets like to sell their own products.

103.  FTC Nominee Lina Khan Fires a Warning Shot at Big Tech - “Potential Criminal Activity” - and Senators from Both Parties Love It  

2021-04-21


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The Senate Commerce Committee holds a nominating hearing for the most important scholar on antitrust since Robert Bork. She warns of potential criminal activity in the adtech world.

104.  Break Up the Ivy League Cartel  

2021-04-25


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Harvard, Yale, and the other top schools descended from an elitist Puritan tradition are wrecking the great post-World War II democratization of education.

105.  Roku, Match Group, and Tile Heat Up the Civil War in American Business  

2021-04-26


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Opponents of the big tech monopolies are coming out in force. Match Group, Tile, Roku, Epic Games, Spotify, and the News Media Alliance are ripping apart the consensus in the business community.

106.  One Benefit of Biden's Capital Gains Tax Hike: Fewer Mergers  

2021-04-29


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Joe Biden's tax changes will slow the merger boom. And it will hit private equity particularly hard.

107.  Is Biden Accidentally Giving the Green Light to Mega-Mergers?  

2021-04-30


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The Federal Trade Commission let a $39B pharmaceutical merger through without any scrutiny, and the Antitrust Division let Michael Milken roll up the salt market. Where's the change?

108.  Beef Is Expensive. So Why Are Cattle Ranchers Going Bankrupt?  

2021-05-07


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Independent cattle producer advocate Bill Bullard explains the problem. It's the monopolies, stupid.