An urgent and witty manifesto, Monopolies Suck “lucidly explains how monopolies threaten democracy, worsen inequality, and imperil the American Dream—and why it’s more important than ever to take action” (David Cicilline).
Something’s not right. No matter how hard you work, life seems to only get harder. When your expenses keep going up but your income stays flat, when you’re price-gouged buying medicine for your child’s life-threatening allergy, when you live in a hyped-up state of fear and anxiety, monopoly power is playing a key role. In Monopolies Suck, antitrust expert and director at the Open Markets Institute, Sally Hubbard, shows us the seven ways big corporations rule our lives—and what must be done to stop them.
Throughout history, monopolists who controlled entire industries like railroads and oil were aptly called “robber barons” because they extracted wealth from everyone else—and today’s monopolies are no different. By charging high prices, skirting taxes, and reducing our pay and economic opportunities, they are not only stealing our money, but also robbing us of innovation and choice, as market dominance prevents new companies from challenging them. They’re robbing us of the ability to take care of our sick, a healthy food supply, and a habitable planet by using business practices that deplete rather than generate. They’re a threat to our private lives, fair elections, a robust press, and ultimately, the American Dream that so many of us are striving for.
In this “accessible guide” (Zephyr Teachout, author of Break ‘Em Up), Sally Hubbard gives us an easy-to-understand overview of the history of monopolies and antitrust law, and urges us to use our voices, votes, and wallets to protest monopoly power. Emboldened by the previous century when we successfully broke up monopoly power in the US, we have the tools to dismantle corporate power again today—before their lobbying threatens to undermine our economy and democracy for generations to come.
About the Author
Sally Hubbard is an antitrust expert and Director of Enforcement Strategy at the Open Markets Institute, an organization developing solutions to America’s monopoly crisis. She served as an Assistant Attorney General in the NYAG Antitrust Bureau, and was an investigative journalist covering mergers, monopolies, and privacy. She has testified in the US House of Representatives and before the Federal Trade Commission. She appears and is cited regularly as an antitrust expert in a wide range of media, including The New York Times, CNN, BBC World News, Vanity Fair, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Wired, and hosts the podcast Women Killing It. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children.
"A provocative call to restore economic competition by dismantling the ruling plutocracy."
"Hubbard’s cogent, accessible analysis makes a persuasive case that unchecked monopolies have rigged the system against ordinary Americans. Policymakers and voters will want to take note."
"In this important book, Sally Hubbard explains with winning clarity, concision and humor the many ways monopolies hurt us all—and what citizens can do to combat the hydra-headed menace of concentrated corporate power."
—Nancy MacLean, author of Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America
“With expertise and an engaging writing style, Sally Hubbard’s Monopolies Suck is a must read for anyone wanting to understand how monopolies endanger our pocketbooks and our democracy. The book will leave you enraged at the role monopolies play in every facet of our daily lives, but encouraged that we can, in fact, beat them."
—Denise Hearn, co-author of The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition
“Sally Hubbard is a rare combination: a former antitrust enforcer who knows the law deeply and a sharp, pull-no-punches writer. In this light, accessible guide, Hubbard shows how today’s corporate giants are breaking the laws intended to protect you—and what you can do about it.”
—Zephyr Teachout, author of Break ‘Em Up: Recovering Our Freedom from Big Ag, Big Tech, and Big Money
“In my 20-plus years in the tech industry, I have never witnessed the scale of monopolization that exists today with dominant internet platforms. They flagrantly steal ideas, suppress innovation, and limit consumer choice. We need meaningful change—before it's too late. Sally Hubbard's book spells out these pressing threats in lucid prose that reminds us how urgently we need to act.”
—Patrick Spence, CEO of Sonos
“The creative community is paying a steep price in monopolized America, with millions of artists struggling to make a living under rules that prioritize Big Tech profits. Sally Hubbard lays out the case for how we fight back—and why we must.”
—Don Henley, musician, songwriter, producer, and founding member of The Eagles
"Antitrust law is a tool that belongs to the people, and Sally Hubbard breaks it down in a way that everyone can understand. Hubbard lucidly explains how monopolies threaten democracy, worsen inequality, and imperil the American Dream—and why it's more important than ever to take action."
—David N. Cicilline
"Hubbard has done the important work of relating monopolism to your daily life – the ways in which you, personally, are made worse off, every day, by unchecked corporate concentration and power...An outstanding and important read."
—Cory Doctorow, bestselling author of Little Brother