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The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition

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4.23  ·  Rating details ·  311 ratings  ·  59 reviews
The Myth of Capitalism tells the story of how America has gone from an open, competitive marketplace to an economy where a few very powerful companies dominate key industries that affect our daily lives. Digital monopolies like Google, Facebook and Amazon act as gatekeepers to the digital world. Amazon is capturing almost all online shopping dollars. We have the illusion of choice, ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published November 20th 2018 by Wiley
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Jonathan Tepper
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Hi, I wrote the book (with my co-writer Denise Hearn). We've posted the Introduction and Chapter 1 online so you can read them. We hope you enjoy it. If you do, please share.
http://jonathan-tepper.com/the-myth-o...
Athan Tolis
Dec 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: ec-and-finance
This is a story that’s crying to be told.

For three important reasons, this is not the book that tells it.

First, it’s poorly written: no editor’s been within a mile of it; the authors repeat entire paragraphs verbatim! (example: second paragraph of p. 98 and first paragraph of p. 118). If that is because they’ve strung together a bunch of articles they wrote earlier, they have a duty to tell us that upfront and a duty to do some editing, so I don’t read about the airlines six times.
...more
Charles J
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
The death of the free market at the hands of monopoly has gotten a lot of recent attention. By far the best book about this problem is Tim Wu’s "The Curse of Bigness," which through a “neo-Brandeisian” lens focuses on how monopoly destroys the core frameworks of a free society. This book, "The Myth of Capitalism," comes to much the same conclusion from a more visceral starting place—why have wages stagnated even though the labor market is tight and corporate profits are soaring? The answer is co ...more
Peter Mcloughlin
Coming full circle after a brief New Deal summer in the mid-twentieth century we have returned to a gilded age winter again. A time of Robber Barons and Monopolies. Frankly capturing the government and forming monopolies and worsening inequality is just what capitalism does when there are no countervailing forces. Capitalism tends towards monopoly without vigorous regulation and oversight Just as it tends to medieval levels of inequality without redistributive efforts. It will push down wages wh ...more
Justus
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
Even though I agree with nearly all of the author's arguments, this is a terrible book and you shouldn't read it. It is poorly edited, all over the place, and includes numerous ridiculous, eye-rolling claims. It isn't entirely without merit -- the authors start with a good central claim -- but it spirals out of control and quickly turn into railing against all of the misdeeds of corporations & billionaires in the modern world. Actually, one of the book's best uses is simply as an aggregation ...more
Steve
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
The authors wish to evoke a populist anger around some of the notable anomalies in our economy, many of which, I agree, are deeply concerning and in need of resolution. I have this vision of Howard Beale's rant in the film Network. Unfortunately, this work falls mighty victim to the reductionist fallacy, which very much discredits the effort. I believe we live in a highly complex, fluid society; to render an honest account of the hows and whys of this world would require volumes resulting in: co ...more
David Dayen
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Jonathan Tepper is angry. He's tired of defending capitalism when its current iteration is indefensible. He's perturbed to see a system he's worked in and thrived in for so long go to pieces. And he saves the most scorn for those functionaries in economics and the law leading the nation down a path of ruin by destroying capitalism.

This isn't exactly my perspective. But sometimes it's good to have a denunciation of capitalism from someone inside the system who believes in its benefits
...more
Mehrsa
May 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
The diagnosis of the problem is spot on--capitalism needs anti-trust or else there is no competition. In one chapter, the authors talk about all the industries that are monopolized by one or two firms and it is stunning. The companies form cartels and fix prices and it's impossible for small companies to compete. The fix was not enough, in my view. They oppose wealth taxation of all kinds and want to rely solely on anti-trust. I think we need both to promote competition.
Caitlin Dickerboom
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
What a bust! This story needs to be told and this book definitely does not tell it. I was looking to form an opinion on a very topical subject this week but the poorly organized content is made more of inflammatory, out of context, click-baitish paragraphs rather than critical thinking.

We get it; everyone is sensing something is “off” and the consumer is no longer free to choose in any industry, crippling capitalism, etc. etc., but this book has a long way to go before spurring produ
...more
Pam Boling
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Myth of Capitalism is, hands down, the best book I read in 2018 and one of the best non-fiction books I’ve read in a long time. First of all, it is very well researched, documented, and notated, which is not always the case. I applaud the authors’ diligence especially on the notations.

I honestly believe if the information in this book was common knowledge to the general populace, we might never have arrived where we are today. Even now, if everyone in this country — or even most
...more
B.T. Party
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A cogent analysis of the ills of capitalism and a clear path to its reformation. 5*

From the Introduction: "Capitalism without competition is not capitalism."
Competition is essential to the moral success of capitalism, as was well known to the founders of the American republic as contemporaries of Adam Smith. The benefits of free market capitalism include:
* creates clear price signals, efficiently balancing supply and demand
* more choices, innovation, and economic growth<
...more
Maroš Hodor
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Hard facts supporting a claim that market regulation is insufficient to prevent before monopolies and oligopolies. Exciting examples that will surprise you. Very clear and concises Highly recommend.
Aagave
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is an excellent read- a clearly framed, clearly argued, market-centered and data-driven breakdown of why capitalism, as it works today, impedes rather than promotes competition, and therefore requires legal regulation.

And what is convincingly laid out on the table is, the US government has withdrawn from regulating markets to promote competition at a time where the evidence almost overwhelming suggests it should be highly active.

When regulation is proposed, the obvious (and necessary
...more
Eric
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic read about how capitalism is as much about competition as it is private enterprise, how increasing industry concentration has led to increasing prevalence of monopolies and oligopolies across all sectors of the economy, how oligopolies impact our everyday lives nowadays, how this not only increases consumer prices but also decreases worker wages and increases inequality, how the tech sector in particular is subject to these trends and forces, how government helped to solve the proble ...more
Michael Broadhurst
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I'd probably give this 4.5 stars if I could, as it was somewhat repetitive at points, but its flaws are modest at best. It's both a scathing indictment of where capitalism in America is today, while also a remarkably optimistic look at how things could be redirected.
Adrian Blackshaw
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
That irksome subconscious feeling that America is going the wrong direction was clearly elucidated in plain language by Tepper. This is the largest problem facing America. Will the super debt cycle be the end of America's global super power status? Quite possibly if we don't address the problems outlined in this book. For those thinking more government in your life is the solution, this book should bring you pause.
Turi Munthe
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am an old friend of the author, and adding my name to the list of quite extraordinary endorsements of Tepper's "Myth of Capitalism" seems superfluous: he has a couple of Nobel Prize-winning economists, and half a dozen of the top economics professors in the world supporting his argument.

But I write to assure those of you without a Nobel prize or professorship that "The Myth of Capitalism" is not just an exceptionally important and timely book, it is also immensely readable. Tepper
...more
Susan
Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
An interesting take on capitalism and as reasonable as any other, although I wonder if monopolies or their various iterations aren’t an essential feature of capitalism rather than a flawed version of it. After all, would capitalism have existed or could it exist without the invention of the corporation? But the remedies suggested are good ones and worth pursuing, even if they won’t eliminate the fundamental problem.
Misha Chellam
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Interesting read on lack of competition in US economy.
Dean
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Myth of Capitalism – Monopolies and the Death of Competition

If you have been wondering why wages have not increased since 1980, then you need to read this book. There is a graph that has been around for a while, and reproduced in the book, showing how wages and productivity have increased in lockstep since whenever. That bond was broken in 1980, when productivity increased, and wages did not.

Tepper and Hearn do a great job of providing historical context as well as current events to
...more
Maukan
Jul 31, 2019 rated it liked it
This books is packed with compelling data on the terrain of the U.S economy. Particularly concentrated industries who stifle competition by dividing up territories between other competitors. The book goes through detail after detail of 2 to 4 corporations having 80% market share in their industry. This has a detrimental affect on the entire company, raising prices on consumers while cutting wages, increasing income inequality and lowering investments. We're in an age where 4 companies regulate t ...more
Emilio Garcia
Sep 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
From time to time a book on economy reaches a certain success among the general public. The popular success usually goes hand in hand with achieving influence among the elites as an inspirational book for public policies making. It was the case of Picketys "The capitalism of XXI Century" , and up to certain point "The myth of capitalism". Both books are complimentary visions of how growing inequality is taken place in our societies, although the author of the later saw both books as rival views ...more
Izalette
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Evan
It took me almost a month to finish this book... Which means I didn't like it until the end. I've listened to a lot of Jonathan Tepper interviews on podcasts (e.g., MacroVoices), and I think he is a really smart guy. But, with this book, I think he tries to assign to much of the cause of income inequality to monopolies. I finished the "great leveler" recently, and the premise of the book is that 1) the trend of human history is always towards greater levels of income inequality and 2) that incom ...more
Javier HG
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Full disclosure first: I know Jonathan through mutual friends, and shared a very entertaining lunch and found him knowledgeable about economic subjects and an entertaining conversationist.

With this out of way, I have to say that I found "The myth of capitalism" as a very nice surprise. Some reviews criticized the writing style. I understand beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but reading "The myth of capitalism" was easy and fun. I bought the book because of its different take abou
...more
Jiliac
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am very unsure on how to rate this book. I learned many facts about the economy and its history. It's probably the most convincing explanation I have seen of "why Trump happened", why America seems so broken to an European like me. On the other hand, I felt the authors were getting too emotional in some parts. This is making parts of the book substance less.

Furthermore, the authors focus a lot on antitrust intervention and how the government institutions failed the citizens it is s
...more
Mikko Arevuo
Capitalism without competition is not capitalism! The book presents an impressive amount of research to support the argument that our free market system is broken. Big monopolistic businesses pay lip service to free competitive markets but in reality behave anything but. Regulators are complicit in the emergence of increasingly concentrated industries by passing misguided legislations, or at worst, allowing themselves to be duly influenced by corporate interest.
As a free market economist I love
...more
Garrett Kellogg
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It seems the general feeling around the country is that there is something eminently broken with our economy and politics. Tepper and Hearn illustrate that the economic/political ire felt around the country stems from the swindling of American policies to favor mono/duo/oligopolistic industries that distort our sense of freedom, freedom of choice and equality.

As a country, America has not had significant antitrust enforcement since 1980 with ZERO cases of section 2 of the Sherman Act filed in 2
...more
Fan Wu
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book brings a Aha moment to me much the same when I read the Magic Formula investing book by Joel Greenblatt. It laid out a blue map to tell you how to beat the market step by step. And amazingly, while the author criticize the establishment, people who actually want to go upward in the social ladder can learn a great deal as to how to achieve it.

I am not too worried about the current trend. It will correct sooner or later by itself. Rich people are buying up pristine real estat
...more
Christopher
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An incredibly eye-opening and thought provoking book, featuring large amounts of research findings that are shared in a way that is not overly pretentious (unlike most of the scholarly / economic papers the studies are pulled from). This book fills in the gaps where Milton Friedman & the Chicago School's economic theories leave off. Many folks can feel there is a problem with the system today, with prices, inflation, and cost of living on the up and up, all the while inequality continues to ...more
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I am a founder of Variant Perception, a macroeconomic research group that caters to asset managers. Occasionally, I write books. I’m the author of the The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition, Endgame: The End of the Debt Supercycle, and Code Red, a book on unconventional monetary policy.

Earlier in my career, I worked as an equity analyst at SAC Capital and as a
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“Those who oppose reform will do well to remember that ruin in its worst form is inevitable if our national life brings us nothing better than swollen fortunes for the few and the triumph in both politics and business of a sordid and selfish materialism.” 1 likes
“This brings us to the very ugly truth about regulation: while big businesses often complain about regulation, the truth is that even though it is painful and annoying, they don't mind it and even favor it. Regulations that are burdensome enough to kill small companies but are not strong enough to kill large ones are, in fact, ideal.” 0 likes
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