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US Steel, Amazon, and Aries Systems

In 2004, I read a great biography (pre-Hamilton) by Ron Chernow. Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller is a great look at the man and his monopolies. Spoiler alert, everything turns out fine for John D after the government breaks up his monopoly. He doesn’t go broke.

Fast forward a bit to Amazon and the recent discussion in the press. Are they a monopoly? Should/could they be broken up?

Now comes the news that Elsevier acquired Aries Systems/Editorial Manager. On top of Clarivate acquiring Kopernio, Elsevier acquiring bepress/Plum Analytics/SSRN, and Wiley acquiring Atypon. All spurring discussions about monopolies in publishing and publishing services.

What drives the general public (or publishing professional) to care about monopolies? Or to even recognize one? Or to be moved to take any meaningful action?

To use Amazon as an example, I guess it would be when prices (like Amazon Prime) or terms (no free shipping) or product availability changes. But it is usually happening via small cuts and the middle man feels it the most, not the end user (except for increased pricing).

So, what is your bridge too far for a monopoly? Getting any closer in publishing for you to take up your pitch fork?


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