Economic Analysis and Competition Policy Research

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Why “The Sling”

For much of the last half-century, workers, small businesses and consumers have chafed under the rising corporate power unleashed by neoliberal deregulation and weakened antitrust enforcement. Many journalism outlets and policy “institutes” have adopted a supportive stance toward this dominant ideology that reflects the singular interests of corporate America. Too many economists are also willing to bless the outcomes that have resulted from the dismantling of the successful regulatory regimes that pre-dated the Reagan revolution, including the destructions of unions, high levels of inequality, and concentration and market power.

The last several years have seen an American workforce less amenable to accepting the promises and justifications that many economists and “think-tank” mouthpieces have offered them. Consumers have also become increasingly skeptical of an economy that continues to heap riches on the wealthiest while leaving the majority with high inflation for necessities like food, housing, healthcare, telecommunications, transportation, and education. Not only has neoliberal policy resulted in greater inequality and lower wages, but also lower growth, less innovation and investment, a fragile small business sector, a weakened democracy, and an environmental crisis. For example, in the current macroeconomic environment, leading thinkers and academics have prescribed that the American work force should bear the pain concomitant with any attempts to reduce inflation.

Against the power of a corporate Goliath, workers, small businesses and consumers have channeled the spirit of David by seeking a revival of real antitrust enforcement and consumer protection vigilance. The analogy of David’s sling represents for us the peaceful movement of the majority toward restoring the regulation of big business that made the United States the leading economy in the world before the neoliberal revolution. We named this publication The Sling, in the hope that the analysis and ideas discussed here can serve the public and foster the goal of providing for a more equitable and just society.

The Sling will be the source for progressive antitrust and consumer protection law and economics. Although many of its contributors have relations with the Utah Project, the opinions expressed here are those of the authors only, and do no not reflect the views of the University of Utah, its Economics Department or the College of Law, or the Utah Project.