American markets, once a model of competition for the world, have experienced a growing concentration of economic power in a few large corporations. The rise of corporate economic—and political—power has emerged as one of the most important issues of our time. It is destined to be a key point of debate in the coming U.S. presidential election.
Do America’s current economic problems—slow productivity growth, weak investment, and rising income inequality—reflect flaws of capitalism or too little competition? Is the slide into more monopolistic structures an inevitable consequence of market forces such as technological change and globalization, or are political choices and policies to blame? What are the new challenges of 21st-century capitalism? What will it take to make American markets great again—for all?
On December 6, the Global Economy and Development program at Brookings hosted a discussion that featured an important recently published book on these issues by Thomas Philippon: The Great Reversal: How America Gave Up on Free Markets. A presentation on the book by the author was followed by a discussion involving the author and invited panelists.
Following the discussion, the panel answered questions from the audience.