Virtual Event: Barry C. Lynn
Liberty From All Masters:
The New American Autocracy vs. the Will of the People
in conversation with ZEPHYR TEACHOUT
November 9, 2020
7:00 PM ET
Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
Free - $5 contribution suggested at registration
Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes BARRY C. LYNN—Founder and CEO of the Open Markets Institute and author of the book End of the Line: The Rise and Coming Fall of the Global Corporation—for a discussion of his latest book, Liberty from All Masters: The New American Autocracy vs. the Will of the People. He will be joined in conversation by ZEPHYR TEACHOUT, Associate Law Professor at Fordham Law School.
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While payment is not required, we are suggesting a $3 contribution to support this author series, our staff, and the future of Harvard Book Store—a locally owned, independently run Cambridge institution. In addition, by purchasing a copy of Liberty from All Masters on harvard.com, you support indie bookselling and the writing community during this difficult time.
About Liberty from All Masters
Americans are obsessed with liberty, mad about liberty. On any day, we can tune into arguments about how much liberty we need to buy a gun or get an abortion, to marry who we want or adopt the gender we feel. We argue endlessly about liberty from regulation and observation by the state, and proudly rebel against the tyranny of course syllabi and Pandora playlists. Redesign the penny today and the motto would read “You ain’t the boss of me.”
Yet Americans are only now awakening to what is perhaps the gravest domestic threat to our liberties in a century—in the form of an extreme and fast-growing concentration of economic power. Monopolists today control almost every corner of the American economy. The result is not only lower wages and higher prices, hence a concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few. The result is also a stripping away of our liberty to work how and where we want, to launch and grow the businesses we want, to create the communities and families and lives we want.
The rise of online monopolists such as Google and Amazon—designed to gather our most intimate secrets and use them to manipulate our personal and group actions—is making the problem only far worse fast. Not only have these giant corporations captured the ability to manage how we share news and ideas with one another, they increasingly enjoy the power to shape how we move and play and speak and think.
Praise for Liberty from All Masters
"Liberty from All Masters builds on Barry Lynn's lifetime of work analyzing the evils of concentrated private power in America today, and makes a deep critique of the way we have come to think about antitrust. He questions not just whether consumer welfare and efficiency can be measured in a digital economy, but whether they ought to stand as normative standards in a democratic society. A highly provocative and important book." —Francis Fukuyama, author of Identity: Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment
"From the beginning, the citizens of the United States have resisted unchecked power. In the nineteenth century, voters recognized the new threat posed by concentrated corporate power and demanded a ban on monopoly. The antitrust laws that their legislators passed were unambiguous: Big is bad. For decades, these laws protected freedom and competition, but as Barry Lynn recounts in Liberty from All Masters, in the 1970s, a group of economists and their fellow travelers launched an intellectual coup worthy of Orwell. Legislating from the library, they persuaded judges that what the law said, actually, is that big is not bad. We live with the consequences. Monopolies give a handful of private citizens powers that autocrats of the past could only dream of. If you want to save democracy, read Lynn's guide to the battle citizens must wage, once again, to defend their liberties.” —Paul Romer, Nobel Prize winning economist
"Very few thinkers in recent years have done more to shift the debate in Washington than Barry Lynn. In Liberty From All Masters, he proves himself as a lyrical theorist and a bold interpreter of history. This book is an elegant summoning of a forgotten tradition that can help the nation usher in a new freedom." —Franklin Foer, bestselling author of World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech
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