Monopoly is a thread—and threat—running through many of society’s fundamental problems, according to Cory Doctorow, an activist, journalist, blogger, science fiction writer, and long-time anti-monopoly champion, who spoke to the club at this month’s general meeting.
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Topics covered include:
- Why we’re in a “seminal moment” for anti-monopoly.
- How monopolies came to pervade the economy, limiting business and creating adverse social conditions.
- How monopoly drives wealth concentration, grinding down the young and working class, and exacerbating homelessness.
- How President Biden has championed anti-monopoly, delivering the sweeping Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy, and appointing key antitrust watchdogs.
- Why Biden’s appointing Lena Khan as head of the Federal Trade Commission is ”the most salient political appointment of any president in at least 20 years.”
Cory comes up from the technology industry. He’s worked with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights organization, for many years; he’s now a special consultant for that organization.
Tech industry monopolies—primarily Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon—are highly controversial. But it’s not just tech. Monopolies dominate every industry. From healthcare and finance to professional wrestling, every industry is dominated by an extremely limited number of companies, which control what consumers can buy, and limit job choices for people who work in that industry. Monopoly power allows companies to exert unhealthy influence on the government agencies that are supposed to regulate them.
Cory is the author of books including science fiction for adults, such as “Radicalized” and “Walkaway,” nonfiction about monopoly and conspiracy, “How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism;” “In Real Life,” a graphic novel; and the picture book “Poesy the Monster Slayer.” His latest book is “Attack Surface,” a standalone adult sequel to “Little Brother;” his next nonfiction book is “Chokepoint Capitalism,” with Rebecca Giblin, about monopoly, monopsony and fairness in the creative arts labor market.
Cory blogs about monopoly, digital rights, and shares whimsical links at Pluralistic.net. He previously was co-editor of the blog Boing Boing for 19 years. Born in Toronto, Canada, Cory and his family now live in Los Angeles.
And mark your calendar for our next meeting, Wednesday, Sept. 7, at 7 pm, at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Drive, where we’ll get training in GO Team—you’ll learn what you need to know to go door-to-door to convince your neighbors to vote local candidates. And we’ll also hear hear from candidates for local office and find other ways you can support them. Come early at 6:30 pm for informal conversation with your fellow Democrats.