The link between antitrust and inequality

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The Myth of Capitalism, by Jonathan Tepper

In summary:

Current, unacceptable levels of inequality stem from the deterioration of antitrust enforcement and the subsequent “toll road-ization” of the American economy. Mergers permitted without scrutiny, oligopoly proliferates; workers, customers, suppliers get squeezed. This deterioration was driven by revolving doors, cronyism, and Chicago economic philosophy. This is all exacerbated by concentrated ownership of these toll roads by the wealthy.

Questions & Review

Tepper’s story is enticingly simple. Basically, we just need to restore antitrust enforcement. It is hard to disagree with Tepper’s narrative of recent economic developments, but I suspect there is more to the story.

Telecommunications seems a perfect example of oligopoly. Why are they spending billions on 5G? And why do they bother advertising so much? (Granted, I have some ideas, not sure if I can share them due to having recently worked at Verizon.)

Tepper suggests that anti-trust, anti-monopoly enforcement basically crumbled under the influence of the Chicago school. But Russ Roberts argues that the Chicago school was never as influential as some on the left like to think. What gives?

What if we just haven’t reached the end of the story yet? Yes you have these huge FAANG companies…but don’t they also allow people to do more with less? So entrepreneurship is down…but the cost of starting a software business is falling dramatically. If you believe the Earnest Capital thesis, you’d be much more encouraged.