Beyond antitrust: the anti-monopoly movement and what it stands for

During a lunch break at the "New Future for Antitrust" conference at the University of Utah, Lina Khan (previously), Marshall Steinbaum (previously), and Tim Wu (previously) drafted "">The Utah Statement, setting out a program for fighting monopolies beyond the mere revival and exercise of antitrust law, premised on the notion "that concentrated private power has become a menace, a barrier to widespread prosperity."

The Statement sets out four credos, ten calls for reform, and thirteen principles. Despite its 27 clauses (!), the Utah Statement is an excellent articulation of how we got here, why it matters, and what we should do next.

I see this as a harbringer of the "peak indifference" moment for monopolism, which hurts everyone from eyeglass wearers to pro wrestling fans (and beyond), a unifying vision for states' relationship to concentrated industries of all kinds and their corrupting influence on regulation.

However, "anti-monopoly" is a terrible name for this movement, since it tells you what it stands against, but not what it stands for. I like "Pluralism" as an alternative, because using "pluralistic" as a modifier to other values ("pluralistic prosperity," "pluralistic self-determination," "pluralistic marketplaces of ideas") make it clear that you're not talking about a "freedom" that ends with one small slice of people dominating everyone else, but rather, about freedoms that end up with everyone having as much choice in how their lives unfold as is possible.

We believe that:

(1) Subjecting concentrated private power to democratic checks is a matter of constitutional importance;

(2) The protection of fair competition is a means to a thriving and democratic society and an instrument for both the creation of opportunity and the distribution of wealth and power;

(3) Excessive concentration of private economic power breeds antidemocratic political pressures and undermines liberties; and

(4) While antitrust is not an answer to every economic distress, it is a democratically enacted and necessary element in achieving these aims.

The Utah Statement: Reviving Antimonopoly Traditions for the Era of Big Tech [Tim Wu/Medium]

(Thanks, Bruce)