MetroFocus

FULL EPISODE

MetroFocus: July 30, 2020

Falling wages. The racial wealth divide. Suicide among dairy farmers and taxi drivers. And even the collapse of local newspapers. What is the one thing these issues all have in common? Zephyr Teachout says they’re all either the direct or indirect result of the increasing unchecked power of America’s monopoly corporations.

AIRED: July 30, 2020 | 0:28:34
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

I'M RAFAEL P. ROMAN.

FALLING WAGES, THE COLLAPSE OF

NEWSPAPERS, THE RACIAL WEALTH

DIVIDE, DAIRY FARMER AND TAXI

DRIVER SUICIDES, WHAT'S THE ONE

THING THEY HAVE IN COMMON?

ACCORDING TO OUR NEXT GUEST, THE

AUTHOR OF THE NEW BOOK "BREAK

THEM UP, RECOVERING OUR FREEDOM

FROM BIG AG, BIG TECH AND BIG

MONEY, WHAT THEY HAVE IN COMMON

IS THAT THE THE RESULT OF

INCREASING UNCHECKED POWER OF

AMERICA'S MONOPOLY CORPORATIONS.

HE'S A FORMER UNIVERSITY

PROFESSOR OF LAW, AN EXPERT IN

ANTI-TRUST, AND A FREQUENT

CANDIDATE OF PUBLIC OFFICE, MOST

RECENTLY THE OFFICE OF NEW YORK

ATTORNEY GENERAL.

SHE JOINS US NOW.

SO GOOD TO HAVE YOU.

>> THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HAVING

ME.

>> I ONLY GOT THE CHANCE TO READ

THE BOOK DIGITALLY SO I DON'T

HAVE IT WITH ME.

I WONDER IF YOU WOULD SHOW OUR

AUDIENCE WHAT THE BOOK LOOKS

LIKE, COMING OUT THIS WEEK.

>> HERE YOU GO, THANK YOU.

PLEASE ORDER IT.

ANY WAY YOU CAN, ONLINE OR FROM

YOUR LOCAL BOOKSTORE.

>> IT IS AN IMPORTANT BOOK.

SO LET ME START WITH A BASIC

QUESTION.

WHAT IS A MONOPOLY?

HOW DO YOU DEFINE IT?

>> A MONOPOLY IS A COMPANY THAT

HAS STARTED TO TAKE ON SOME OF

THE FEATURES OF GOVERNMENT.

THAT IT DOMINATES IN A

MARKETPLACE INSTEAD OF BEING

INSIDE, OR IT CAN SET PRICES

WITHOUT REALLY HAVING TO

NEGOTIATE WITH ANYBODY.

THINK ABOUT THE MONOPOLIES THAT

YOU PROBABLY REGULARLY CONFRONT,

LIKE BIG PHARMA COMPANIES WHOSE

PRICES GET RAISED RADICALLY,

JUST BECAUSE THEY CAN.

THEY SO DOMINATE THAT THEY DON'T

ACTUALLY HAVE TO NEGOTIATE WITH

YOU AS A PURCHASER OR NEGOTIATE

WITH WORKERS.

>> SO NAME NAMES.

WHAT ARE SOME OTHER COMPANIES

THAT FIT THIS DESCRIPTION?

>> YEAH.

WELL, I THINK ONE OF THE BIG

MISCONCEPTIONS WE HAVE TO GET

OUT OF THE WAY, FIRST OF ALL, IS

THERE'S TWO MISCONCEPTIONS.

ONE IS THAT IF YOU ARE NOT AN

ECONOMIST OR LAW PROFESSOR, YOU

DON'T HAVE ANY BUSINESS CALLING

SOMETHING A MONOPOLY.

THERE'S A WAY IN WHICH PEOPLE

HAVE STARTED TO THINK OF IT AS A

HYPERTECHNICAL THING.

I DON'T KNOW IF I DARE CALL

SOMETHING A MONOPOLY.

THIS IS A TECHNICAL QUESTION FOR

LAWYERS AND JUDGES TO FIGURE

OUT.

AND ONE OF THE THINGS I WANT TO

DO IN THIS BOOK IS RECOVER A

LONG AMERICAN TRADITION OF USING

A MONOPOLY IN A POLITICAL SENSE.

WHEN YOU THINK OF MONOPOLY YOU

PROBABLY THINK OF MAYBE STANDARD

OIL, WHICH HAD 65% OF THE MARKET

WHEN IT WAS BROKEN UP, AND

NOWADAYS WHAT ARE THE MODERN

STANDARD OILS?

WELL, GOOGLE.

FACEBOOK.

AMAZON.

APPLE.

THOSE ARE ALL REALLY TOP OF MIND

THIS WEEK.

BECAUSE OF THE MAJOR ANTI-TRUST

HEARINGS WITH THE CEOs OF THOSE

FOUR MONOPOLIES COMING TO

TESTIFY.

BUT YOU ALSO LOOK IN THE

AGRICULTURE SECTOR, LOOK AT

BAYER, WHICH NOW OWNS MONSANTO,

OR JOHN DEERE WHICH DOMINATES A

SUBSTANTIAL PART OF THE MARKET.

IN THE BANKING SECTOR WE HAVE

JUST A HANDFUL OF BIG BANKS

WHICH REALLY CONTROL THE BANKING

INDUSTRY.

AND ONCE YOU START LOOKING YOU

START SEEING THEM EVERYWHERE.

>> EXACTLY.

>> THERE'S JUST BEEN RADICAL

CONSOLIDATION ACROSS THE BOARD.

>> YOU CALL WHAT THE MONOPOLY

COMPANIES ARE DOING THE

CHICKENIZATION OF THE AMERICAN

MIDDLE CLASS.

IT SOUNDS FUNNY BUT IT REALLY IS

NOT, NOT IN ANY WAY.

COULD YOU DESCRIBE WHAT THAT

MEANS?

>> YEAH, CHICKENIZATION IS A

TURM, UNSURPRISINGLY, THAT COMES

FROM THE MEAT INDUSTRY.

AND A HANDFUL OF COMPANIES THINK

TYSON, PURDUE, PILGRIMS.

THESE MONOPOLIES SIT AT THE

CENTER OF THE CHICKEN

DISTRIBUTION MARKET AND CONTROL

EVERYTHING.

IF YOU'RE A CHICKEN FARMER AND

YOU WANT TO SELL YOUR CHICKENS,

YOU HAVE TO GO THROUGH ONE OF

THESE GIANTS AND THEY TEND TO BE

REGIONALLY DIVIDED UP.

SO MAYBE YOU'RE IN A TY SONS

REGION.

YOU BASICALLY HAVE TO GO THROUGH

TYSONS TO GET YOUR CHICKEN TO

THE SUPERMARKET.

WELL TYSONS SITS IN THIS

POSITION AND USES ITS POWER AS A

DISTRIBUTOR TO EXERCISE THIS

OUTSIZED POWER OVER YOU AS A

FARMER.

SO TYSONS HAS BOUGHT UP FEED

COMPANIES.

AND CONTROLLING SEED CHICKEN

EGGS, ALL ASPECTS OF CHICKEN

PRODUCTION AND IT USES THIS

POWER, TO SAY, OKAY, YOU'RE A

CHICKEN FARMER.

YOU WANT TO GET YOUR CHICKENS TO

MARKET.

YOU HAVE TO USE THE SEED THAT WE

OWN.

YOU HAVE TO USE OUR CONSULTANTS

TO TELL YOU HOW TO DESIGN YOUR

CHICKEN HOUSE.

YOU HAVE TO USE THE LIGHTING

SYSTEMS THAT WE TELL YOU TO USE.

YOU HAVE TO USE THE WATERING

SYSTEMS.

THERE'S TOTAL CONTROL.

SO THE CHICKEN FARMER LOOKS LIKE

AN INDEPENDENT BUSINESS PERSON.

AND THEY TOOK OUT THE MILLION

DOLLAR LOAN FOR THEIR OWN

CHICKEN HOUSE BUT, IN FACT,

THEY'RE NOT INDEPENDENT.

IT'S MUCH DEEPER AND DARKER THAN

THAT.

BECAUSE IT TURNS OUT THAT TYSON

WILL THEN ALSO REQUIRE YOU TO

SIGN A CONTRACT THAT SAYS YOU

CAN'T TALK TO OTHER CHICKEN

FARMERS.

AND YOU MAY GET PAID DIFFERENT

AMOUNTS THAN OTHER CHICKEN

FARMERS IN THE SAME REGION,

YOU'LL NEVER KNOW ABOUT THAT.

IN FACT, YOU'LL GET PAID

DIFFERENT AMOUNTS EVERY MONTH,

AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT

REALLY DEVELOPS WITHIN CHICKEN

FARMING, BUT I SAY THIS HAPPENS

ACROSS INDUSTRIES, IS THAT THE

FARMERS THEN BECOME IRRATIONALLY

PARANOID ABOUT THE ACTIONS OF

TYSON.

AM I HAVING A BAD MONTH BECAUSE

I SPOKE UP?

AND OBJECTED TO WHAT TYSON WAS

DOING OR AM I HAVING A BAD MONTH

JUST BECAUSE OF CHANCE?

I CAN'T TALK TO MY NEIGHBORS TO

FIND OUT ABOUT THEIR TREATMENT.

SO THEY FEEL LIKE THEY'RE

TOTALLY ISOLATED AND SUBJECT TO

A RULING REGIME.

AND THERE'S BEEN SOME WONDERFUL

REPORTING, SOME OF YOU MAY HAVE

SEEN A JOHN OLIVER COVERED THIS,

ABOUT WAYS IN WHICH CHICKEN

FARMERS WHO SPOKE UP ABOUT THE

PROBLEMS IN THIS REGIME ACTUALLY

DID GET PUNISHED BY GETTING

WORSE TREATMENT AND EVENTUALLY

HAD TO LEAVE THE INDUSTRY.

IT'S CALLED CHICKENIZATION

BECAUSE IN THE BEEF AND PORK

INDUSTRY THEY STARTED ADOPTING

THE SAME METHODS, BASICALLY

CENTRALIZED DISTRIBUTORS USING

THEIR POSITION OF POWER IN A

QUASI FUTILE WAY, SUCKING OUT

ALL THE VALUE, GATHERING LOTS OF

DATA, EXPERIMENTING ON THE

SUPPLIERS AND THE SUPPLIERS

BEING ISOLATED.

SO I ENCOURAGE PEOPLE THEN TO

SAY, OKAY, WELL HOW IS THAT

REALLY DIFFERENT THAN SOMEBODY

WHO'S SELLING ON AMAZON?

WHO'S BASICALLY LIKE THE CHICKEN

FARMER TO TYSON IS THAT SELLER

TO AMAZON.

AMAZON CAN MAKE OR BREAK A

SELLER OF CONSUMER GOODS AND

DEMANDS CONTRACTS THAT ALLOW

THEM TO SPY INTO THE BUSINESSES

OF THE SELLERS.

IT FEELS OUT OF CONTROL.

IS DESPERATELY, AGAIN,

RATIONALLY PARANOID.

DID I END UP HIGHER IN AMAZON

SEARCH RESULTS THIS MONTH

BECAUSE OF SOMETHING I DID OR IS

IT JUST RANDOM?

MORE AND MORE PEOPLE ARE FEELING

LIKE THEY ARE INSIDE THESE

FUTILE REGIMES AND THEY LOOK

LIKE THEY'RE FREE BUT THEY

ACTUALLY AREN'T.

>> RIGHT, RIGHT.

UBER DRIVERS COULD FIT THAT

DESCRIPTION AS WELL.

>> ABSOLUTELY.

AND THERE'S REALLY GREAT

RESEARCH -- THERE'S SO MUCH MORE

WE DON'T KNOW.

BUT ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I'M

INTERESTED IN, AND WE DO KNOW

ABOUT UBER, IS THE WAYS IN WHICH

COMPANIES ACTUALLY EXPERIMENT ON

THEIR SUPPLIERS.

AND SO UBER DRIVERS ARE

EXPERIMENTED ON.

AND NOT REALLY TREATED WITH THE

DIGNITY THAT WE THINK PEOPLE

DESERVE.

AND THAT -- THERE'S SOMETHING

REALLY TROUBLING ABOUT BEING THE

SUBJECT OF AN EXPERIMENT INSTEAD

OF HAVING POWER OVER YOUR OWN

LIFE.

>> NO POWER EVEN TO SPEAK TO A

FELLOW WORKER.

>> YES, EXACTLY.

>> OR TO GET TOGETHER TO JOIN

FORCES.

IN ANY EVENT, IN THE BOOK YOU

BREAK DOWN SPECIFIC D-- ON THE

INSTITUTIONS THAT MAKE DEMOCRACY

POSSIBLE.

ONE OF THEM IS THE FREE PRESS.

NOW WE'VE DONE A NUMBER OF

SEGMENTS ON THE DEMISE OF

INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM,

PARTICULARLY LOCAL INDEPENDENT

JOURNALISM.

AND THE CONSENSUS AMONG OUR

GUESTS, I THINK IS THAT IT'S THE

INEVITABLE RESULT IN THE ADVANCE

OF TECHNOLOGY.

YOU SAY IT IS NOT.

YOU SAY SPECIFIC DECISIONS THAT

ARE MADE BY AMAZON, FOR EXAMPLE,

DON'T HAVE TO BE MADE.

EXPLAIN.

>> YEAH.

I THINK THERE'S SOMETHING REALLY

DANGEROUS ABOUT TECHNOLOGICAL

DETERMINISM.

PEOPLE TEND TO BE TECH NO

UTOPIANS OR TECHNODYSTOPIANS.

BUT THEY SHARE A VIEW THAT THIS

TECHNOLOGY FORCES US TO GO IN

THIS DIRECTION INSTEAD OF

UNDERSTANDING THAT TECHNOLOGY IS

A TOOL WE CAN USE IN WAYS THAT

WE WANT TO.

SO THE PARTICULAR HARM THAT I

TALK ABOUT IN NEWSPAPER

BUSINESSES.

I KNOW YOU HAVE COVERED THIS,

AND I DON'T THINK I NEED TO

DWELL ON THE DEMOCRATIC DANGER

OF NOT HAVING LOCAL NEWS.

IS THE WAY IN WHICH FACEBOOK AND

GOOGLE IN PARTICULAR SERVE AS

ALMOST LIKE BRIDGE TROLLS.

THERE'S ABSOLUTE CHOKE POINTS.

IF YOU ARE -- WE'RE TALKING

ABOUT CHICKEN FARMERS EARLIER.

IF YOU ARE A LOCAL NEWSPAPER, IF

YOU'RE THE -- TO REACH PEOPLE

WHO ARE GOING TO READ YOU NEED

TO GO THROUGH FACEBOOK AND

GOOGLE.

BUT WHAT IS REALLY I THINK DARK

ABOUT WHAT FACEBOOK AND GOOGLE

ARE DOING IS THEY'RE ACTUALLY

MAKING MONEY OFF THE WORK THAT

JOURNALISTS ARE DOING,

ESSENTIALLY SUCKING THE

RESOURCES DRY.

SO STEPPING BACK FOR A SECOND,

FOR MOST WORKING CLASS AND LOCAL

JOURNALISM, THE KEY SOURCE OF

REVENUE HAS BEEN ADS NEXT TO THE

JOURNALISM.

SO I'M GOING TO BE A JOURNALIST

WHO GOES AND FINDS OUT WHAT THE

POLICE ARE DOING AND THE LOCAL

CARPET STORE IS GOING TO SELL --

IS GOING TO SELL ADS NEXT TO

THAT STORY.

AND SINCE PEOPLE REALLY WANT TO

KNOW WHAT THE POLICE ARE DOING

THEY'RE GOING TO SEE THE ADS FOR

THE LOCAL CARPET STORE.

WHAT'S HAPPENING NOW IS THAT

THOSE SAME ADS HAVE ALL MI

MIGRATED -- WHEN I SAY 100%, BUT

99% OF NEW DIGITAL AD DOLLARS

WENT TO GOOGLE AND FACEBOOK LAST

YEAR.

THERE'S THIS HUGE SHIFT OF MONEY

THAT USED TO FLOW TO LOCAL

JOURNALISTS NOW FLOWING TO

FACEBOOK AND GOOGLE.

BUT THEY'RE ACTUALLY -- IF YOU

SHARE A HEADLINE ABOUT WHAT

LOCAL COPS ARE DOING, FACEBOOK

AND GOOGLE ARE PLACING AN AD

NEXT TO THAT HEADLINE.

SO THE RESEARCH DONE BY THE

JOURNALISTS, THE JOURNALISTS

AREN'T GETTING THE MONEY, THE

LOCAL PAPER ISN'T GETTING THE

MONEY, FACEBOOK AND GOOGLE ARE

GETTING THE MONEY.

THEY ARE THESE CHECK POINTS.

THE CHICKEN FARMERS AS

JOURNALISTS.

>> THEY'RE PUTTING IT ON THEIR

PLATFORM AND STEALING THEIR ADS.

>> YES, YEAH.

AND WE DON'T HAVE TO ALLOW THAT.

WE CAN BASICALLY SAY -- I MEAN,

IT'S SOMETHING I'VE BEEN PUSHING

FOR FOR SOME TIME IS SAY, LET'S

JUST BE HONEST ABOUT WHAT

FACEBOOK AND GOOGLE ARE, THEY'RE

THE CENTER OF OUR COMMUNICATIONS

INFRASTRUCTURE AND WE SHOULDN'T

ALLOW COMMUNICATIONS

INFRASTRUCTURE TO BE FUNDED WITH

TARGETED ADS.

WE CAN HAVE THEM BE FUNDED WITH

PAYING FOR SERVICES.

PAY $1 A MONTH TO FACEBOOK, PAY

FOR THE SEARCH SERVICES.

INSTEAD OF SIPHONING THAT MONEY

AWAY AND COMPETING, WE THINK

ABOUT THEM AS SOCIAL MEDIA, BUT

THEY'RE DIGITAL AD SELLERS.

SO THEY'RE DIRECTLY COMPETING

WITH THE NEWS ORGANIZATIONS THAT

DEPEND ON THEM.

AND I SEE THIS AS AN EMERGENCY.

>> WE'LL TALK ABOUT THE STEPS TO

TAKE AT THE END OF OUR

CONVERSATION.

BUT LET'S KEEP GOING TO THE

THINGS THAT -- THE EFFECTS

THEY'RE HAVING IN DIFFERENT

SECTORS.

A BIG ONE THAT YOU COVER IN THE

BOOK IS THE EFFECT THAT THEY'RE

HAVING ON THE JUSTICE SYSTEM.

HOW THEY ARE REPLACING THE

DEMOCRATIC OPEN JUSTICE SYSTEM

THAT WE HAVE IN THIS COUNTRY

WITH PRIVATE POWER, A PRIVATE

COURT SYSTEM, SO TO SPEAK.

AND WHAT THOSE EFFECTS ARE.

TALK ABOUT THAT.

>> THIS IS BASICALLY

ARBITRATION.

SO YOU MAY HAVE ARBITRATION --

BEFORE THOUGHT ABOUT ARBITRATION

BUT WHAT I ARGUE IN THE BOOK IS

WE SHOULD SHIFT THE WAY WE THINK

ABOUT ARBITRATION.

ARBITRATION SOUNDS NICE.

IT SOUNDS LIKE, OH, SOMETHING

TWO PEOPLE IN A SILLY FIGHT

SHOULD GO AND JUST GET ALONG.

BUT IT'S ACTUALLY QUITE A

SINISTER TOOL WHEN IN THE HANDS

OF BIG CORPORATIONS.

AND IT'S -- ARBITRATION IS A

PRIVATE COURT SYSTEM THAT PEOPLE

ARE FORCED INTO WHEN THEY

CONTRACTUALLY AGREE -- IF I'M

GOING TO BE IN A RELATIONSHIP

WITH YOU, ALL OUR CLAIMS AREN'T

GOING TO GO TO COURT.

THEY'RE GOING TO GO TO THIS

PRIVATE COURT SYSTEM.

SO THE THEORETICAL JUSTIFICATION

FOR USING ARBITRATION IS MAYBE I

WORK FOR YOU, AND I SIGNED A

CONTRACT.

AND WHEN I SIGNED THE CONTRACT

AS YOUR EMPLOYEE, I SAID, OH,

YEAH, I AGREE THAT IF WE HAVE A

FIGHT WE'LL GO TO THIS PRIVATE

COURT SYSTEM.

IN PRACTICE, MOST ARBITRATION

CONTRACTS ARE NOT TRULY

VOLUNTARY.

IF YOU WANT TO HAVE A CELL PHONE

RIGHT NOW, WORKING WITH ANY OF

THE MAJOR CELL PHONE COMPANIES,

THERE'S AN ARBITRATION CLAUSE

THAT SAYS IF YOU WANT TO USE THE

CELL PHONE YOU HAVE TO MAKE --

YOU HAVE TO PROMISE THAT

EVERYTHING WILL BE RESOLVED BY

THIS PRIVATE COURT.

NOW, AT FIRST IT MIGHT LOOK LIKE

THESE COURTS RESEMBLE PUBLIC

COURTS BUT EXTRAORDINARILY THE

JUDGES ARE PAID BY THE PARTIES,

AND IN PRACTICE THE JUDGES ARE

PAID BY THE BIG CORPORATIONS.

SO YOU HAVE REPEAT LAYERS, OF

THE BIG CORPORATIONS WHO PAY THE

JUDGES.

THEY'RE NOT PUBLIC.

THEY ARE NOT BOUND BY RULES OF

EVIDENCE.

THERE'S NO RIGHT OF APPEAL.

AND IN PRACTICE WHAT THIS MEANS

IS THAT PEOPLE DON'T EVEN BOTHER

GOING TO COURT.

AND ONE WAY TO UNDERSTAND THIS,

THROUGHOUT THE BOOK I ARGUED

THAT WE HAVE TO SEE THESE

MONOPOLIES AS A FORM OF

GOVERNMENT AND THIS FORM OF

GOVERNMENT AS YOU WONDERFULLY

EXPLAIN BRINGS ALONG ITS OWN

FORM OF JUDICIARY, AS EVERY FORM

OF GOVERNMENT HAS A JUDICIAL

SYSTEM.

BUT THE REAL STEPPING BACK WHAT

WE REALLY SEE IS THAT

ARBITRATION WAS A RESPONSE TO

THE INCREDIBLE SUCCESS OF THESE

GREAT CIVIL RIGHTS LAWS.

THAT GAVE WORKERS POWER.

THAT GAVE PEOPLE WITH

DISABILITIES THE RIGHT TO --

THAT GAVE PEOPLE THE RIGHT TO

SUE ON AGE -- FOR AGE

DISCRIMINATION, RACIAL

DISCRIMINATION OR SEX

DISCRIMINATION.

AND INSTEAD OF OVERTURNING THOSE

LAWS, WHAT THE BIG CORPORATIONS

DID IS SAY, OH, NO, NO, WE'LL

ENFORCE THOSE LAWS BUT WE'LL

ENFORCE THEM IN ARBITRATION.

AND BY THE WAY, IT'S NOT GOING

TO BE WORTH YOUR TIME.

SO IT EFFECTIVELY OVERTURNED

THESE EXTRAORDINARY CIVIL RIGHTS

LAWS BY CREATING A FORUM IN

WHICH FEW PEOPLE COULD RECOVER

ENOUGH TO MAKE IT WORTH GOING

THERE.

IT BASICALLY ERASES LAWS WHILE

NOT HAVING TO SAY THAT YOU'RE

ANTI-CIVIL RIGHTS LAWS.

>> IT AFFECTS WORKERS AND

CONSUMERS AS WELL.

WE JUST SIGNED IT BECAUSE WHO'S

GOING TO -- YOU KNOW, WHO'S

GOING TO TAKE ON AMAZON ON YOUR

OWN?

>> CAN YOU IMAGINE?

WHOEVER YOU ARE, EVEN IF YOU'RE

FEELING LIKE YOU'RE PRETTY

POWERFUL IN YOUR WORLD, CAN YOU

IMAGINE YOU JUST GOT THE JOB OF

YOUR DREAMS AND MAYBE YOU'RE 24,

HAVE $200 IN SAVINGS AND THE JOB

OF YOUR DREAMS IS A FAST FOOD

JOB, AT LEAST YOU'RE GETTING

PAID BECAUSE IT'S A TOUGH JOB

MARKET, OR MAYBE THE JOB OF YOUR

DREAMS IS YOU'RE JUST GETTING

HIRED BY, I DON'T KNOW, A LAW

FIRM YOU WANT TO GET HIRED BY

AND THEN THEY GIVE YOU A

CONTRACT AND YOU SAY, OH, I LOVE

THIS JOB.

BUT I'M NOT GOING TO SIGN THIS

CONTRACT BECAUSE LATER WHEN YOU

DISCRIMINATE AGAINST ME I WANT

TO BE ABLE TO BRING YOU TO

COURT.

>> YEAH, YEAH.

>> NOBODY DOES THAT.

>> IN ANY EVENT, THE COMPETING

EMPLOYER HAS EXACTLY THE SAME

CONTRACT.

>> EXACTLY, EXACTLY.

THIS IS SOMETHING THAT I BRING

UP IN THIS BOOK THAT HASN'T BEEN

COVERED AS MUCH IS THAT MONOPOLY

AND ARBITRATION ARE CONNECTED.

IF YOU HAVE A REALLY OPEN

MARKETPLACE, YOU SAY I'M NOT

GOING TO GO TO McDONALD'S WITH

THIS ARBITRATION -- I'M GOING TO

BURG

BURGER KING.

BUT THEY ALL HAVE EXACTLY THE

SAME ONE.

>> THEY KNOW IT.

MOVING ON FAST, YOU ACCUSE THE

MONOPOLIES OF EXACERBATING AND

SUSTAINING SYSTEMIC RACISM IN

THE COUNTRY YET I'M SURE THAT IF

YOU TALK TO THE PUBLIC RELATIONS

DEPARTMENTS OF A LOT OF THESE

BIG CORPORATIONS, THEY'LL SAY,

HEY, WE ARE THE BIGGEST

FINANCIAL BACKERS OF

ORGANIZATIONS, FOR EXAMPLE, LIKE

BLACK LIVES MATTER, WE'VE GIVEN

THEM MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF

DOLLARS, ESPECIALLY LATELY, AND

OVER THE DECADES WE HAVE BEEN

FINANCIAL SUPPORTERS OF THE

CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT OVERALL.

HOW CAN YOU ACCUSE US OF

EXACERBATING SYSTEMIC RACISM?

WHAT'S YOUR ANSWER?

>> YEAH.

IT'S, I THINK, ONE OF THE MOST

IMPORTANT AREAS OF STUDY AT THIS

MOMENT IS LOOKING AT THE

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CORPORATE

POWER, MONOPOLY POWER, AND

RACIAL POWER AND EQUALITY AND

RACIAL FINANCIAL INEQUALITY.

AND SO I TALK ABOUT A FEW

DIFFERENT WAYS.

ONE IS THAT CONCENTRATION TENDS

TO BE CONCENTRATION THAT LEADS

TO FAR MORE -- MORE

CONCENTRATION MEANS MORE WHITE

PEOPLE IN POWER, BASICALLY.

ABOUT ONE IN FIVE BUSINESSES IN

GENERAL ARE RUN BY PEOPLE OF

COLOR.

BUT ONCE YOU GET TO THE FORTUNE

500 IT'S A TINY, TINY

PERCENTAGE.

WHEN YOU LOOK IN THE FINANCIAL

SECTOR, THE AMOUNT OF -- IT'S

LIKE 1% OF PEOPLE WHO ARE VERY

INVOLVED IN MANAGING BIG FUNDS.

ARE PEOPLE OF COLOR.

SO THE FARTHER UP YOU GO, THE

MORE YOU CONCENTRATE, THE MORE

YOU BASICALLY LEECH OUT A POWER

SYSTEM.

ONE OF THE THINGS I TALK ABOUT

IS LOOKING AT THE CIVIL RIGHTS

MOVEMENT AND HOW ABSOLUTELY

ESSENTIAL BLACK BUSINESSES WERE

IN SUPPORTING INCREDIBLY

DIFFICULT FIGHTS FOR CIVIL

RIGHTS.

FUNERAL HOMES.

BLACK-OWNED CAR BUSINESSES.

BLACK-OWNED PHARMACIES.

ALL PLAYED AN ESSENTIAL ROLE IN

BEING A POWER BASE FOR

CONFRONTING THE WHITE POWER

ESTABLISHMENT.

BUT THERE ARE OTHER WAYS AS

WELL.

I MEAN, IF YOU LOOK AT WHO

FUNDED, WHEN YOU DIG BENEATH THE

SURFACE AND WHO FUNDED VOTER

SUPPRESSION LAWS IN NORTH

CAROLINA AND OTHER STATES.

IT TURNS OUT GOOGLE, AT&T,

PFIZER, THEY'RE ALL UP THERE

FUNDING ALEC, WHICH THEN

SUPPORTED THE SUPPRESSION

DRIVES.

MANY OF THOSE COMPANIES HAVE

SINCE PULLED OUT OF THAT BECAUSE

OF THOSE PROTESTS BUT THERE'S AN

ONGOING ALLIANCE BETWEEN BIG

CORPORATIONS AND LEGISLATORS WHO

BASICALLY WANT TO STRIP PEOPLE

OF POWER.

AND IN SOME WAYS, YOU KNOW,

IT'S -- THEY'RE NOT SITTING

THERE SAYING, LIKE, I'M THE HEAD

OF GOOGLE AND I WANT TO SUPPRESS

THE VOTE.

BUT I'M THE HEAD OF GOOGLE AND I

WANT TO MAKE SURE WE DON'T HAVE

TO PAY MUCH IN TAXES AND IF ONE

OF THE SIDE EFFECTS IS THE VOTE

GETS SUPPRESSED, SO BE IT.

OF COURSE WITH BIG TECH THERE'S

A LOT OF ATTENTION RIGHT NOW ON

THE WAY ALGORITHMS EXACERBATE

RACIAL BIAS.

>> OKAY.

SO TO MOVE ALONG REALLY FAST

BECAUSE WE'RE ACTUALLY SHORT ON

TIME, BELIEVE IT OR NOT.

CLEARLY, MONOPOLIES AFFECT

WAGES, RIGHT, BECAUSE, YOU KNOW,

THEY ESSENTIALLY CONTROL THE

LABOR MARKET.

AND YOU WOULD THINK, URINE, THAT

THE WAGE MYSTERY WHERE, YOU

KNOW, THE LABOR MARKET TIGHTENS

UP YOU WOULD THINK THAT WAGES GO

UP BUT THEY DON'T BECAUSE IN THE

MONOPOLY, BASICALLY, A FEW GOOD

EMPLOYERS CONTROL THE WAGES.

THAT'S UNDERSTANDABLE.

WHY DO UNIONS NOT ONLY STAY

QUIET ABOUT THIS, BUT SOMETIMES

SUPPORT A LOT OF THESE MERGERS

AND ACQUISITIONS THAT CREATE

THESE SUPER MONOPOLIES?

EXPLAIN THAT.

>> THIS IS ONE OF THE PUZZLES

THAT I DUG INTO IN THE BOOK.

THERE'S REALLY POWERFUL NEW

RESEARCH THAT SHOWS THAT IN

CONCENTRATED MARKETS PEOPLE'S

WAGES ARE AS MUCH AS $14,000

LESS BECAUSE OF CONSOLIDATION IN

THE MARKETPLACE, PER YEAR.

I MEAN, THIS IS AN INCREDIBLE --

THESE ARE BASICALLY COMPANY TOWN

WRIT LARGE WHERE THEY'RE REALLY

SUCKING WORKERS DRY.

AND SO THE QUESTION IS WHY

HAVEN'T UNIONS BEEN LEAVING THE

FIGHT?

I THINK THERE'S A LOT OF

REASONS.

SOME OF IT HAS AN UNDERSTANDABLE

FEELING OF IMPOTENCE, THERE'S A

MERGER, CAN WE REALLY STOP IT.

SOME OF IT HAS TO DO WITH

HISTORY.

FOR A LONG TIME COMPANIES DID

TREAT WORKERS BETTER.

THERE WAS A SENSE, LIKE, WELL,

WE CAN ACTUALLY ORGANIZE A

BIG -- A BIG SHOP AS CHEAP -- AS

COSTS AS MUCH TO ORGANIZE A BIG

SHOP AS IT COSTS TO ORGANIZE A

SMALL SHOP.

WHY DON'T WE JUST ORGANIZE THE

BIG SHOP?

LET'S NEGOTIATE BIG UNION, BIG

COMPANY.

BUT THERE'S AN AGATHA CHRISTIE,

MOMENT, THEN THERE WERE NONE.

WE THINK YOUR WAGES SHOULD BE

$20 INSTEAD OF $45 AN HOUR.

I THINK THAT UNIONS HAVE MORE

POWER THAN THEY REALIZE IN THIS

MOMENT AND THEY'VE USED MERGER

FIGHTS TO EXTRACT SHORT-TERM

BENEFITS BUT THE LONG-TERM COST,

USUALLY IT'S A FIVE-YEAR

CONTRACT OR SOMETHING, FOR THE

NEXT FIVE YEARS AT LEAST WE'LL

GET THESE BENEFITS IF WE DON'T

OPPOSE THE MERGER BUT THE

LONG-TERM COST IS THEY'RE REALLY

LOSING POWER.

STARTED TO SHIFT BUT I'M REALLY

HOPING THAT UNION LEADERSHIP CAN

REALLY BE AT THE FOREFRONT OF,

YOU KNOW, STRENGTHENING WORKER

POWER, WEAKENING CORPORATE

POWER.

>> IN THE LAST FOUR MINUTES WE

HAVE LEFT LET'S TALK ABOUT WHAT

IS TO BE DONE.

YOU MAKE A COMPELLING CASE IN

THE BOOK ABOUT HOW MONOPOLIES

ARE, IN FACT, RESPONSIBLE FOR

THE DESTRUCTION OR THE DEMISE OF

DEMOCRACY, SOCIAL JUSTICE,

EQUALITY, FREEDOM, ECONOMIC

FAIRNESS, AT LEAST THEY'RE PART

OF THE PROBLEM.

HOW COME, THEREFORE, THEY

HAVEN'T BEEN IN THE TOP OF THE

AGENDA, THE PROGRESSIVE

MOVEMENT, AND UNTIL VERY

RECENTLY?

>> YEAH.

I MEAN, THIS IS -- UNTIL 1980,

AS PEOPLE UNDERSTOOD THAT

PRIVATE POWER WAS A GENUINE

PRODUCT CONCENTRATED POWER WAS A

GENUINE DEMOCRATIC THREAT,

REAGAN BROUGHT IN THIS

REVOLUTION, BUT THEN -- AND

REALLY GUTTED ANTI-TRUST LAW BUT

NEITHER CLINTON NOR ANY

SUBSEQUENT PRESIDENT REALLY

REVERSED THAT.

I GO INTO THE REASONS IN THE

BOOK.

I HOPE YOU READ IT.

I KNOW WE HAVE LIMITED TIME.

BUT I THINK THAT THERE'S A

GROWING RECOGNITION RIGHT NOW,

THAT THEY'RE A SIGNIFICANT

PROBLEM AND THE BIG BARRIER TO

PEOPLE'S ACTION IS JUST A

FEELING OF IT'S TOO BIG, IT'S

TOO BIG A PROBLEM.

WE CAN'T DO ANYTHING.

AND THERE'S A TENDENCY TO LOOK

AT SHORT-TERM SOLUTIONS, LIKE

LET'S PROTEST PFIZER'S POLICIES

INSTEAD OF PFIZER'S EXISTENCE.

AND I THINK THAT LIKE LABOR

UNIONS, WE CAN -- WE MAKE A

POWER ERROR IF WE FOCUS ONLY ON

THE POLICIES AND NOT ON THE

NEGOTIATING PARTIES.

AND I SUGGEST THAT -- THINK

ABOUT YOURSELF.

YOU MAY THINK, OH, I KNOW HOW

BAD CORPORATE MONOPOLIES ARE BUT

YOU MAY HAVE WRITTEN YOUR

LAWMAKERS ABOUT ALL KINDS OF

DIFFERENT POLICIES.

WHEN'S THE LAST TIME YOU WROTE

THEM TO SAY BREAK UP BIG

COMPANIES?

WHEN'S THE LAST TIME YOU PICKED

A CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE BASED

ON THEIR ANTI-TRUST POLICY.

WE HAVE TO RETURN IT TO THE

CENTER OF POLITICS INSTEAD OF,

LIKE TECHNOLOGY, SORT OF

INEVITABLE, TERRIBLE FACT

THAT -- WELL, WE HAVE TO LIVE

WITH SO LONG AS WE HAVE MARKETS.

AND THAT'S JUST A DEEP LIE.

YOU CAN HAVE MARKETS THAT ARE

DECENTRALIZED.

AND YOU CAN HAVE A STRONG

NATIONAL PROGRAMS AND STILL BE

ENGAGED IN BREAKING UP THESE

REALLY TOXIC MONOPOLIES.

>> HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THE

ARGUMENT THAT TO BREAK UP THE

MONOPOLIES YOU HAVE TO GIVE

GOVERNMENT EXTRA POWER AND THAT

THAT IN ITSELF IS A PROBLEM

BECAUSE THEY HAVE, YOU KNOW, A

MONOPOLY OF THE FORCES OF

REPRESSION.

I MEAN, YOU KNOW, MONOPOLIES MAY

BE BAD BUT THE STATE CAN PUT YOU

IN JAIL, CAN SEND THE COPS AFTER

YOU.

HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THOSE WHO

ARE AFRAID OF GOVERNMENT

MONOPOLIES INCREASING?

>> WE HAVE GOVERNMENT MONOPOLIES

NOW.

THERE'S NO NON-GOVERNMENT

WORLD --

>> WOULD IT BE STRONGER IN ORDER

TO BREAK DOWN THE MONOPOLIES --

>> THE QUESTION IS WHAT FORM OF

GOVERNMENT DO YOU WANT?

DO YOU WANT MARK ZUCKERBERG

DICTATING PRIVACY POLICY, I

THINK THE ANSWER IS NO.

IF YOU DISAGREE WITH THE FTC'S

PRIVACY POLICY YOU HAVE

RECOURSE, YOU HAVE WAYS TO

COMPLAIN.

THEY'RE BUILT INTO THE

STRUCTURES OF DEMOCRACY.

WITH MONOPOLY GOVERNMENT YOU

BASICALLY HAVE NOTHING YOU CAN

DO WHEN MARK ZUCKERBERG HAS A

WHIMSICAL DAY AND DECIDES TO

RELEASE -- TO TRANSFORM YOUR

PRIVACY RULES.

SO IT IS NOT THAT ANY FORM OF

GOVERNMENT IS PERFECT.

BUT I AM A BELIEVER IN THE -- IN

THE NEED FOR CONTINUING TO

ASPIRE FOR DEMOCRATIC SELF-

GOVERNANCE WHERE ARE PEOPLE HAVE

POWER OVER THEIR OWN LIVES.

>> YOU END THE BOOK WITH AN

EPILOGUE.

A LIFE OF A YOUNG WOMAN, 2040,

MONOPOLIES HAVE BEEN BROKEN UP,

HOW REALISTIC IS IT THAT ALL

THESE CORPORATIONS ARE NOT SO

HUGE.

15 SECONDS.

>> CRUCIBLE MOMENT IN OUR

DEMOCRACY AND I THINK WE HAVE

THESE MULTIPLE PATHS OPEN TO US

BUT THERE'S SO MUCH EXCITING

MOVEMENT, POWER NOW, WE CAN DO

IT.

>> "METROFOCUS" IS MADE POSSIBLE

BY SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III,

THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA

PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT

ANTI-SEMITISM, BARBARA HOPE

ZUCKERBERG, SHERYL AND PHILIP

MILLSTEEN, BERNARD AND DENISE

SCHWARTZ AND THE ROBERT AND TINA

SOHN FOUNDATION.