How America gave up on free markets with Thomas Philippon
On this week’s Vergecast interview, Verge editor-in-chief Nilay Patel talks to finance professor and an economist at the NYU stern school of business Thomas Philippon. Thomas just wrote a book called The Great Reversal: How America Gave Up on Free Markets all about competition and consolidation in different markets.
When Thomas moved to the United States from France in the 90s, he noticed everything from laptops to internet access was cheaper in America, but over time has gotten more and more expensive. In the interview Nilay and Thomas discuss why that is — unsurprisingly the answer is consolidation in a lot of our markets.
Thomas makes a point that in some places, concentrations are actually good and creates value for the consumers, but in some markets like healthcare, technology, and airtravel, that consolidation has resulted in way higher prices for Americans. Since the prices go up slowly, we don’t actually notice.
If you have been listening to The Vergecast and been paying attention to our big conversations about whether or not we should be breaking up big tech companies, whether we should regulate them, or whether tech companies with network effects like Google and Facebook are different than companies like AT&T and GE, this conversation is up your alley. Below is lightly edited except of the conversation.
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