Capitalism’s function is to accrue economic power in the hands of a limited number of actors. The minute owners conspire, free markets collapse. However, the problem with using competition as the primary regulator against monopoly is that every industry requires an entry cost, which tends to increase as an industry and its regulatory environment mature. This will often snuff out smaller companies that can not pay that entry cost. Furthermore, it provides an incentive for the powerful to collude in order to limit competition.
Our government willingly forgot this knowledge in the 1970s when corporate shills convinced judges and regulators that the only metric for economic concentration was increased prices. Oligopoly or even monopoly, they said, was acceptable no matter the cost to workers, industries, communities and even our democracy.
We know that concentrated industries leads to concentrated politics. Corporate cartels and monopolies can never be democratically accountable. They give us a democracy of one boss, one vote. Democracy cannot survive when the vote of a few billionaires counts for more than billions of people.
When elected, the Massachusetts Pirate Party will:
- enforce and expand antitrust laws, in order to distribute and pluralize power. The people need a veto over corporations, both via their purchasing power and our laws;
- aggressively pursue policies that promote competition, including a blanket statewide permission for municipally- and commonwealth-owned services such as broadband, banking, and utility corporations;
- end any tax breaks or public subsidy for corporations to buy their competitors, offshore economic activity or hide US revenue to avoid taxation;
- ban stock buybacks so that corporations have money to invest in their employees and business;
- force tech companies to tear down their digital walls and use standard protocols that allow new companies and services to interoperate so that users can move their data to the companies of their choice;
- implement strong data privacy laws, break up the ad-tech duopoly and ban surveillance advertisements and replace them with contextual ads that don’t spy on us or rob businesses of needed revenue;
- make it easier for unions to self-organize and expand workers rights. Worker power is the only way we can improve the work place. The people doing the work know what they need to do the work most efficiently;
- implement a right to repair for all products so you truly own what you purchase.