How to Stop Monopolies and Influence Policymakers

America’s first Gilded Age was marked by corruption at the highest levels of government–and the unchecked power of private capital. The nation escaped that low and dishonest era thanks, in part, to a generation of plucky muckraking journalists. Journalists must now confront this second Gilded Age in which we find ourselves.

Since at least the start of this decade, the Washington Monthly has been uncovering the connections between inequality, economic stagnation, and the monopolization of industries. Imagine, if you will, that a certain a 2016 presidential candidate listened to us and campaigned on the fact that independent dairy farmers had been getting screwed by collaboration between Dean Foods and Dairy Farmers of America; or that cities like Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Pittsburgh (note the states those are located in and who won them), which have attracted and cultivated major American companies, are being unfairly disadvantaged by inadequate flight service, a consequence of unabated airline mergers and acquisitions. 

We can only imagine what might have played out had Hillary Clinton emphasized these injustices and laid out solutions for them. But our ideas are finally breaking through, including in the most unlikely places. 

A year ago, the Democrats made anti-monopolization the central plank of their economic agenda. A certain New York Times columnist known to be most comfortable when he’s galavanting with plutocrats has recently admitted that refurbishing antitrust policies is essential to healthy American growth. And the Economist, one of the magazines most responsible for pushing the very policies that led to our current monopolistic predicament, recently dedicated an entire issue to restoring antitrust policies.

None of this happens by itself. Places like the Washington Monthly are essential to injecting serious ideas for solving big problems into to the discourse. If you believe our mission is worthwhile, then please consider making a donation to the Monthly this holiday season.

Thanks to a generous challenge grant from NewsMatch, a national organization devoted to helping sustain nonprofit journalism, every dollar that you give—whether it’s $10, $50, $500, or more—will be matched. Your donation, of course, is tax deductible. And in return for a gift of $50 or more, you’ll receive a free one-year subscription to our print edition.

Enough of our money disappears into inefficient monopolies. But your gift to the Washington Monthly will help us combat the kind of corporate concentration that is hurting far too many Americans. Any donation you can afford will be deeply appreciated.

Joshua Alvarez

Joshua Alvarez is a contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal. He edits syndicated opinion columns at the Washington Post, and can be reached at joshuaalvarezmail@gmail.com.