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The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition

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4.18  ·  Rating details ·  650 ratings  ·  108 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 o ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published November 20th 2018 by Wiley
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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. Seriously!

Se
...more
Charles Haywood
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
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 of ...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
Robert Martin
Aug 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
An incredibly important book which highlights everything that I hate about capitalism. Much like communism, capitalism has many merits in theory but the implementation is another question entirely. What I admire about capitalism as a philosophy is that it is one of the few systems that has demonstrably been able to foster cooperation between fundamentally selfish individuals. The great irony is that success in the capitalist system sows the seeds for the destruction of the very same system, as l ...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. ...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. In The Myt
...more
Ardon Pillay
Sep 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I suppose that having competition as one of the key defining features of capitalism makes sense; greater diversity begets more choices for consumers, and keeps prices somewhat lower. However, Tepper makes the case that we are seeing less and less competition, because of monopolies, which insidiously twist the markets to favour their own development. They cut off emerging competitors at the knees, before they even have a chance to take their first steps, and use political lobbying to get regulati ...more
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 productive conver
...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. ...more
Tõnu Vahtra
Feb 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Monopolies are bad, oligopolies are even worse, Buffett and Thiel are bad (for supporting the death of capitalism), Picketty's Capital on 21th Century is crap and other stories... I certainly agree with many of the arguments from the author, but the view is slightly narrow/simplified and criticism is not presented in properly argumented manner. There seem to be two major themes in this book: cursing the big technology companies (primarily Google, Facebook and Amazon) and trying to explain the pr ...more
Alper
Jan 02, 2021 rated it did not like it
i was gonna give 2 stars in the beginning because i thought it was still giving some correct real world examples of what is going on, but i changed my mind after just hearing all the neo-classical capitalist bs. so, the story of this book is it is giving the correct examples of what is going on in the industry but imposing wrong ideas why poor "capitalism" is abused by monopolies and all that shit (regulations, etc.) to malfunction. in short, capitalism is the perfect system but we need to make ...more
Carlos Miguel Palao
Aug 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
A great book in its explanations of how capitalism is so warped from its theoretical base why that's the case, how monopolies have materialized and why. Also presents good ideas and solutions for both right and left. I especially enjoyed his defence of Unions and Workers' Rights, so unusual in a liberal author.

Nevertheless, I feel like the author gets too dragged by his initial bias towards a capitalism devoid of monopolies that as he explains... Has never actually existed. I would have appreci
...more
Kurt Jensen
Nov 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Among the most important works of history, economics and political thought. Must-read for citizens.
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 people — had
...more
John Knowles
Many people have labeled communism as but a myth: an unattainable fantasy. Jonathan Tepper and Denise Hearn have, by contrast, written a new book called The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition. It contains a series of liberal and conservative critiques of the economic system of the U.S. in particular, and the West, more generally.

Tepper and Hearn chronicle the decline of competitiveness in almost every sector of the U.S. economy. Most people in the mainstream media are dr
...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.
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 Pickety´s "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.
Bruce Rennie
Aug 02, 2020 rated it really liked it

While the increasing levels of income and wealth inequality have been mentioned more and more often in the press, the causes of the growing gap are often omitted. This book dives into those root causes.

At the moment, the US is a largely a functioning oligopoly. Virtually every industry has seen large scale "concentration" to the point where there are generally fewer than 4 large competitors. Air travel, groceries, health care, it doesn't matter. Just about any industry you can name is controlle
...more
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
Susan Brunner
Apr 22, 2020 rated it liked it
This book’s full title is The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition. This book was recommended by John Mauldin in a Thoughts from the Front Lines email. I agree we no longer have capitalism in a lot of ways.

Some companies, especially tech companies come to mind, have grown too big and too powerful. They allow no competition. However, this applies to a lot of other industries in the US. These are also big international companies. Examples of products of companies with large
...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
* prevents unjust inequal
...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 about inequality
...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 supposed to s
...more
Andrew
Apr 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
Real socialism has never been tried, as many are wont to say. This book is trying to articulate a similar theme: real capitalism has never been tried. Or at the very least, if it ever had been tried, today's version no longer resembles it. Monopolies, regulatory capture, and structural inequality are choking at the very foundations of innovation and economic growth, threatening the popularity and viability of what we term capitalism. Without major reform, we cannot return to the bygone era of pr ...more
UndeadRacer
Oct 05, 2020 rated it it was ok
I admit this book says a lot of wise things on monopolies and the threat to free market competition in 21st century. However, I will give 2 stars since there are quite a few issues with the book:

- references are not A class honestly. A lot of articles, papers from little known authors.

- right wing bias: criticizes Piketty a lot, but in the piece where Piketty is criticized and accused of mistakes in data, references are lacking, suggesting it is purely an opinion of the authors

- political freed
...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
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“All around the world, people have an overwhelming sense that something is broken. This is leading to record levels of populism in the United States and Europe, resurgent intolerance, and a desire to upend the existing order. The left and right cannot agree on what is wrong, but they both know that something is rotten. Capitalism has been the greatest system in history to lift people out of poverty and create wealth, but the “capitalism” we see today in the United States is a far cry from competitive markets. What we have today is a grotesque, deformed version of capitalism. Economists such as Joseph Stiglitz have referred to it as “ersatz capitalism,” where the distorted representation we see is as far away from the real thing as Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean are from real pirates. If what we have is a fake version of capitalism, what does the real thing look like? What should we have? According to the dictionary, the idealized state of capitalism is “an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange, characterized by the freedom of capitalists to operate or manage their property for profit in competitive conditions.” 2 likes
“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
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