Over the past decade alone, there’s been an increase in sole companies taking over their respective markets. Amazon has become the leader in selling consumer goods, and the Walt Disney Company distributed the top five top-grossing movies of 2019. Meanwhile, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has enough influence with the government and private sectors to make rival companies and networks insignificant in the grand scheme of things—or so says Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes. Hughes has been the frontman of the Anti-Monopoly Fund (AMF) and has been calling for big companies to be broken up, with several people and organizations behind his back.
But what, exactly, is the Anti-Monopoly Fund, and what is it planning?
The AMF is housed with the Economic Security Project (ESP), which Hughes co-founded in 2016 with the goal of promoting a guaranteed income. While they still have their intended goal in mind, the ESP is now supplementing their work with the AMF to promote its message as well. With its $10 million donation from Hughes himself, the fund will be able to help projects aligning with its message until March 2021. These projects include backing researchers and academics studying the rise of corporations and the impacts they cause, activists who will encourage public oversight of companies and advocate for stricter, enforced laws for corporations to follow, and storytellers who will get the information found into the mainstream news no matter the medium used to do so (such as documentaries, blog posts, YouTube videos, and so on).
The rise of the AMF isn’t a surprise, however; the Washington Post reported that there’s been an increase in economic concern and how monopolies impact it over the past two years. Under privately owned, for-profit monopolies, there is nothing to keep prices at reasonable costs for consumers, nor is there a reason to improve their product so long as there’s a demand for it from consumers.
This is what Hughes wants to avoid with the AMF, and he plans to work and find long-term solutions outside of federal laws to take a step forward and break up big companies. His focus isn’t only on Big Tech companies, though—the AMF funds activism against agricultural and pharmaceutical monopolies as well.
The fight against monopolies isn’t an obscure fight that’s being fought on the sidelines. It made a big enough impact in 2019 that Inside Philanthropy listed it as the Hottest New Philanthropy Niche of 2019. it’s important to be in the know of what to look out for, so we’ll see if it will remain merely a niche or grow into something for mainstream media as 2020 moves forward.