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The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  845 ratings  ·  142 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 ...more
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Published April 16th 2019 by Gildan Media (first published November 20th 2018)
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Athan Tolis
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!

Charles Haywood
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
David Dayen
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ardon Pillay
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
Saurav Mandal
Sep 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Caitlin Steuer (Dickerboom)
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
Michael Broadhurst
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
This was a good book discussing the rise of monopolies and oligopolies and showing how market concentration in the hands of just a few people is incredibly detrimental. They present compelling evidence illustrating how little choice American consumers actually have in their daily lives. They also show how recent merger waves result in anticompetitive and price-raising effects, despite the loud claims that consumers somehow benefit from the mergers.

However, there were two comments in the conclus
Tõnu Vahtra
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
Jan 02, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Bethany Bremer
Apr 04, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the few economics books I’ve ever read. I can recommend it enough. It was well-researched and well-positioned for its audience.

If you’ve ever wondered why exactly the rich keep getting richer while the poor work hard to stay where they’re at, check this book out. If you’ve ever wondered why you can only choose one airline at your regional hub or why all flight prices rise together, give this a read. If you ever wondered how a billion dollar company can offer its devices for free,
Aug 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jate Saitthiti
"Capitalism without competition is not capitalism."

The author explains how large corporations create competition barriers in their industries by doing things like merging and acquiring companies to gain market share and raising product or service prices. Or even patent dominance in the sector.

In another vein, I've learned more about a business moat.
Kurt Jensen
Nov 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Among the most important works of history, economics and political thought. Must-read for citizens.
Kiran Bhat
Dec 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
Absolutely well written book with free flowing and insightful content
Pam Boling
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jan 05, 2022 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is the worst book I've read in recent memory. Here's the book: There isn't a lot of competition in the US economy - there's a lot of monopolies. And that's bad.

That's the whole book. I guess I shouldn't forget that he promises to give solutions ... which amounts to 4 pages at the end.

Whether you agree with the author's point or not, generic as it is, this is just a horribly written book. He blames German cartels for the Holocaust, at one point. And thinks all MBAs are evil. I mean - he ma
Maroš Hodor
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 31, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For years now I keep hearing one political side arguing that the other side is against Capitalism. The adherents of this very loud political party believe the other side is destroying capitalism as we know it.

And, yet, the reality is that both sides are doing so while their rank and file yell at each other in political pep rallies. So many industries have merged that many - especially the ones that cost the most - health care, telecommunications, food, BEER, etc - are all essentially oligopolies
Jul 25, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics, politics
The rise of populists is symptomatic of the dissatisfaction that much of the world's population feels - this has led to the pushback against the current status quo of capitalism and globalisation on both the left and right. Tepper argues that actually they both arguing against a straw man - the current system lacks the competition that the right normally trumpets, while the current model the left rails against is not the model of capitalism (at least according to Tepper).

Tepper pushes back again
Emilio Garcia
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
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bruce Rennie
Aug 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
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
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
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