November 9, 2020

Barry C. Lynn

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.


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.

About Author(s)

Barry C. Lynn is Founder and CEO of the Open Markets Institute in Washington. He is author of Cornered (2010) and End of the Line (2005) in which he pioneered coverage and analysis of America’s new monopoly crisis. His work has been profiled in the New York TimesPolitico, the Washington PostRolling StoneThe New YorkerThe Economist, the Wall Street Journal, and CBS. Prior to launching OMI, Lynn worked at the New America Foundation for 15 years. Before that he was Executive Editor of Global Business Magazine and a correspondent for the Associated Press and Agence France Presse in South America and the Caribbean.

Zephyr Teachout is an Associate Law Professor at Fordham Law School. She was a death penalty defense lawyer at the Center for Death Penalty Litigation in North Carolina, and co-founded a non-profit dedicated to providing trial experience to new law school graduates. She has written dozens of law review articles and essays and two books. Her book, Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin's Snuff Box to Citizens United was published by Harvard University Press in 2014.