A half-to-three-quarters-baked idea to fix capitalism.
America has a monopoly problem. The list of heavily concentrated industries grows longer by the day, even as the number of companies operating in each sector shrinks: pharmaceuticals, pharmaceutical benefit managers, health insurance, appliances, athletic shoes, books, alcohol, drug stores, office supplies, eyeglasses, TV ads, internet ads, internet search, semiconductors, enterprise software, LCDs, vitamin C, auto parts, glass bottles, bottle caps, pharmaceutical bottles, airlines, railroads, travel search, railroads, mattresses, lab equipment, lasik lasers, offshore oil services, onshore oil services, contract manufacturing, food services, Champagne, cowboy boots, home improvement stores, and candy.
Monopolists Declared War on America
Once an industry is concentrated, everyone suffers. Highly concentrated industries can abuse their workers with impunity, because there’s nowhere else for them to go. Once an industry is sufficiently concentrated, its workplaces become literal slaughterhouses where workers risk their lives every day, while their bosses place bets on which workers will die first.
Kathryn Judge’s debut book is a hymn to short supply chains.
Back in 2007, I published my second short story collection, Overclocked. I was elated; not just because I’d published another book (the thrill of a new book has yet to pale even today, after dozens of books), but because it was a short-story collection, the kind of book I’d devoured as a kid, the mainstay of writers I’d worshiped, from Harlan Ellison to Spider Robinson to Kate Wilhelm. The publisher was Avalon, which had recently acquired Four Walls Eight Windows, the small press that had published my first short story collection, A Place So Foreign and Eight More. Selling a book to Four Walls had been its own thrill, as they were publisher to Abbie Hoffman, another writer I’d grown up on.