January 19, 2012

Harper’s includes Amazon in its “new network” of monopolies; major publishing CEO calls Amazon’s CEO “dangerous”


An essay in the February issue of Harper’s Magazine, “Killing the Competition: How the new monopolies are destroying open markets,” by Barry C. Lynn, includes Amazon in a growing list of American corporations that are pushing “monopolization of our private markets.” Included are Apple, Google, Intel, and Pixar (which together colluded to prevent employees from getting jobs at other firms), the Brazilian food giant JPS (which sets chicken prices throughout the South), the advertising giant WPP (one of four large advertising holding companies), and Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors (which together control 90 percent of domestic beer distribution).

Lynn writes that many in the book business fear Amazon in the same way as “the chicken farmers of the Sweedlin Valley” fear JPS.

Indeed, in what’s probably the most significant quote in the article, the unnamed CEO “of one of the five biggest publishing houses in America”—who is not identified because he or she “dare not speaking openly” about Amazon—notes that Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos is “reckless. He is dangerous.”


Kelly Burdick is the former executive editor of Melville House.