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Tim Wu – The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age

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“Persuasive and brilliantly written, the book is especially timely given the rise of trillion-dollar tech companies.”–Publishers Weekly

From the man who coined the term “net neutrality,” author of The Master Switch and The Attention Merchants, comes a warning about the dangers of excessive corporate and industrial concentration for our economic and political future.

We live in an age of extreme corporate concentration, in which global industries are controlled by just a few giant firms — big banks, big pharma, and big tech, just to name a few. But concern over what Louis Brandeis called the “curse of bigness” can no longer remain the province of specialist lawyers and economists, for it has spilled over into policy and politics, even threatening democracy itself. History suggests that tolerance of inequality and failing to control excessive corporate power may prompt the rise of populism, nationalism, extremist politicians, and fascist regimes. In short, as Wu warns, we are in grave danger of repeating the signature errors of the twentieth century.

In The Curse of Bigness, Columbia professor Tim Wu tells of how figures like Brandeis and Theodore Roosevelt first confronted the democratic threats posed by the great trusts of the Gilded Age–but the lessons of the Progressive Era were forgotten in the last 40 years. He calls for recovering the lost tenets of the trustbusting age as part of a broader revival of American progressive ideas as we confront the fallout of persistent and extreme economic inequality.

Tim Wu is a policy advocate, a professor at Columbia Law School and a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times. He is best known for coining the phrase “net neutrality.” He worked on competition policy in the Obama White House and the Federal Trade Commission, served as senior enforcement counsel at the New York Office of the Attorney General, and worked at the Supreme Court for Justice Stephen Breyer. His previous books are The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires and The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside our Heads.
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“As Tim Wu argues in The Curse of Bigness, global economic concentration is now at levels unseen in more than a century — since the early days of industrial capitalism. A policy advocate and law professor at Columbia University, Wu offers a vital diagnosis: America has abandoned its rich tradition of anti-monopoly, or antitrust, law. And while the very term ‘antitrust’ may strike many as dreadfully dry, Wu manages to make this brisk and impressively readable overview of the subject vivid and compelling.”
— The Washington Post

“It’s a big idea for a little book, but Wu knows how to keep everything concise and contained. The Curse of Bigness moves nimbly through the thicket, embracing the boons of being small.”
— Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times

“Sweeping in scope, The Curse of Bigness is probably the best popular account of the history of American antitrust law and policy. It captures the stakes in the battle for antitrust―and it cuts to the heart of one of the central questions of our time: Can democracy survive?”
–The New Republic

“Tim Wu’s short and sharp new book, The Curse of Bigness, is an excellent primer for anyone who wants to understand why corporate wealth and power have grown so concentrated in the past four decades, and why that might be a problem for democracy.”
— Rana Foroohar, Financial Times

“Mr. Wu writes with elegance, conviction, knowledge — and certitude.”
— Richard A. Epstein, The Wall Street Journal

“Tim Wu, in his book The Curse of Bigness, which is a cool 160 pages and politely holds the reader’s hand through about 200 years of American economic policy and practice, argues that the time is now, ‘to control economic structure before it controls us.'”
— VOX

“Tim Wu has pulled off an incredible feat―he’s written a short, compelling book on antitrust….Wu skillfully avoids economic and legal rabbit holes, keeping the book laser-focused on his thesis: that antitrust enforcement must be restored ‘as a check on power as necessary in a functioning democracy before it’s too late.’ Persuasive and brilliantly written, the book is especially timely given the rise of trillion-dollar tech companies.”
— Publishers Weekly

“A brief diagnosis of our monopolized moment and an eloquent articulation of principles that Wu believes can lead us into an era of shared prosperity, economic and political independence, and, in the words of Brandeis, ‘the right to live, and not merely to exist.’”
–The American Conservative

“Several books have been written about monopoly over the past few years, and several more are still to come. But none are as succinct and pointed as The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust In The New Gilded Age, the new book from Tim Wu, the Columbia University law professor and former Federal Trade Commission advisor perhaps best known for coining the phrase “net neutrality.”
— Global Competition Review

“The Curse of Bigness is a useful guide to the evils of privatized scale… A revitalization of aggressive trustbusting is as radical a proposal as could be taken seriously in the short term, and Wu charts a clear path to temporarily forestall the social ills of an oligarchic private tech industry.”
―Dissent Magazine

Print Length: 154 pages
Publisher: Columbia Global Reports (November 13, 2018)
Publication Date: November 13, 2018

More info on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Curse-Bigness-Antitrust-New-Gilded/dp/…

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