The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of the U.S. Antitrust Movement

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Tim Evans for HBR

What happened to the antitrust movement? This was the question asked by Richard Hofstadter in the mid-1960s. Antitrust, observed the historian, once was the subject of a progressive movement in the U.S. that stirred public agitation and imagination, despite few antitrust prosecutions. By the 1960s, there were many antitrust prosecutions (by both Democratic and Republican administrations), but without any antitrust movement. Fifty years later, the U.S. has neither an antitrust movement nor much enforcement. That needs to change.

To understand the current moment in antitrust and what should come next, let’s take a historical perspective. U.S. antitrust policy and enforcement have waxed and waned over four cycles:

What Workers and Companies Should Know About the Republican Tax Bills

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Daniel Haskett/Getty Images

The House and Senate have passed somewhat different versions of major legislation to restructure the federal income tax. A House-Senate conference committee still needs to reconcile the two bills, with the goal of finishing before Christmas. Both bills would significantly overhaul the corporate income tax, increase the federal budget deficit, and disproportionately benefit upper-income taxpayers. And the bills include many provisions that are poorly understood and may have unintended consequences.

The legislation would dramatically change how both companies and individuals pay taxes. Here are the broad strokes of the bills, as of this writing, some of which are more positive than others.

Corporate Tax Reform

The bills would reduce the federal statutory corporate tax rate to 20% (which translates to about 25% including state corporate income taxes), putting the U.S. statutory corporate rate more in line with our major trading partners and reducing many of the

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The Most and Least Digital Jobs – and How Well They Pay

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Tyler Machado/HBR STAFF

In all likelihood, your job involves using computers – probably more so than it did a decade ago.

In a recent study, researchers at Brookings attempted to quantify that change across the U.S. economy, using Department of Labor data on the digital requirements of 545 different occupations. They found that 95% of those occupations became more digital between 2002 and 2016, meaning that computers became a more important part of the job.

The researchers combined several measures of an occupation’s use of digital technology into a digital score, ranging from zero (least digital) to 100 (most digital).

You can see where your job and industry fell on that scale, as of 2016, using the interactive below. Once you select an occupation, you’ll see below the main chart how that score changed since 2002, as well as the change in average pay.

Where venture capitalists invest and why

 Entrepreneurs looking to raise capital are often told that investors like to keep things close to home. Is that true? The question influences where people locate companies. After all, if investors are only willing to invest in their own backyard, you might be better off starting your next company as close to capital as possible. Unless, of course, the conventional wisdom is wrong. Read More

As More People Worry About Monopolies, an Economist Explains What Antitrust Can and Can’t Do

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Steven Moore for HBR

According to a growing chorus of critics, America has a “monopoly problem.” Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has said as much, as has Democratic U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren. President Trump has called Amazon a “no-tax monopoly”. In response, pundits, politicians, and think tanks are renewing their interest in antitrust policy.

But is America really dominated by monopolies? And is antitrust the answer? Carl Shapiro is a professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley, an expert in antitrust, and served at the Department of Justice during the Obama and Clinton administrations. He also served on the Council of Economic Advisors under President Obama.

In a new paper, he reviews the evidence of growing concentration in the U.S. economy, discusses whether that constitutes a decline in competition, and outlines the role he sees for antitrust going

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How the Great Recession Changed Banking

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HBR Staff/CSA Plastock/Getty Images

Just over 10 years ago, French bank BNP Paribas froze U.S. mortgage-related funds. Defaults on subprime mortgage loans mounted. The market panicked. There was a run on British bank Northern Rock. Over the next year, many banks fell. Investment bank Bear Stearns collapsed. Lehman Brothers toppled. Many other financial firms including AIG, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac needed bail outs. The Great Recession of 2007 to 2009 was under way.

It may feel as though the financial system hasn’t changed much in the decade since the downturn, but it has. The recession transformed investment banks and created a deep divide between banks that quickly remodeled their business and those that failed to move rapidly.

A dramatic expansion of regulation drove most of the change until now. Most of the regulation was meant to safeguard the financial system, and the taxpayers who had to bail it out, from another crisis. We expect

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ROSS Intelligence lands $8.7M Series A to speed up legal research with AI

 Armed with an understanding of machine learning, ROSS Intelligence is going after LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters for ownership of legal research. The startup is announcing an $8.7 million Series A today led by iNovia Capital with participation from Comcast Ventures Catalyst Fund, Y Combinator Continuity Fund, Real Ventures, Dentons’ NextLaw Labs and angels. Read More

ROSS Intelligence lands $8.7M Series A to speed up legal research with AI

 Armed with an understanding of machine learning, ROSS Intelligence is going after LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters for ownership of legal research. The startup is announcing an $8.7 million Series A today led by iNovia Capital with participation from Comcast Ventures Catalyst Fund, Y Combinator Continuity Fund, Real Ventures, Dentons’ NextLaw Labs and angels. Read More

ROSS Intelligence lands $8.7M Series A to speed up legal research with AI

 Armed with an understanding of machine learning, ROSS Intelligence is going after LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters for ownership of legal research. The startup is announcing an $8.7 million Series A today led by iNovia Capital with participation from Comcast Ventures Catalyst Fund, Y Combinator Continuity Fund, Real Ventures, Dentons’ NextLaw Labs and angels. Read More

Petuum secures $93M Series B to push AI into the mainstream

 With a shortage of machine learning developers bearing down on the industry, startups and big tech companies alike are moving to democratize the tools necessary to commercialize artificial intelligence. The latest startup, Petuum, is announcing a $93 million Series B this morning from Softbank and Advantech Capital. Founded last year by Dr. Eric Xing, a Carnegie Mellon machine learning… Read More

Petuum secures $93M Series B to push AI into the mainstream

 With a shortage of machine learning developers bearing down on the industry, startups and big tech companies alike are moving to democratize the tools necessary to commercialize artificial intelligence. The latest startup, Petuum, is announcing a $93 million Series B this morning from Softbank and Advantech Capital. Founded last year by Dr. Eric Xing, a Carnegie Mellon machine learning… Read More

Petuum secures $93M Series B to push AI into the mainstream

 With a shortage of machine learning developers bearing down on the industry, startups and big tech companies alike are moving to democratize the tools necessary to commercialize artificial intelligence. The latest startup, Petuum, is announcing a $93 million Series B this morning from Softbank and Advantech Capital. Founded last year by Dr. Eric Xing, a Carnegie Mellon machine learning… Read More

Our favorite startups from 500 startups’ 21st class

 Another season, another group of startups presenting as part of 500 Startups’ 21st demo day. This time around, 29 companies pitched on stage at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. We noticed strong trends in healthcare focused businesses as well as startups tackling international markets out of the gate. Perhaps the most interesting trait of the startups selected for our top… Read More

Making Sense of Our Very Competitive, Super Monopolistic Economy

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In the 1980s and 1990s, Blockbuster modernized the movie rental business. It offered far more movies than its smaller rivals, used computers to better manage that inventory, and designed its stores to be bright and family friendly. By 1993, just eight years after its founding, Blockbuster was the global leader in movie rentals, with more than 3,400 stores worldwide. Then Netflix happened. Blockbuster went bankrupt in 2010. Economist Luigi Zingales mentions the Blockbuster story in a recent paper as an example of how the economy ought to work. A company has an innovative idea, which for a while provides competitive advantage. Later on, a new innovator comes along and pushes it aside. But Zingales fears that this isn’t happening as often as it should. Instead, he argues, the U.S. economy may be succumbing to what he calls “the Medici cycle,” named for the powerful family of medieval Florence. Their
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Clara Labs nabs $7M Series A as it positions its AI assistant to meet the needs of enterprise teams

 Clara Labs, creator of the Clara AI assistant, is announcing a $7 million Series A this morning led by Basis Set Ventures. Slack Fund also joined in the round alongside existing investors Sequoia and First Round. The startup will be looking to further differentiate within the crowded field of email-centric personal assistants by building in features and integrations to address the needs of… Read More

Is the U.S. Ready for a Single-Payer Health Care System?

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Ironically, as congressional Republicans have been trying to replace the Affordable Care Act, the ACA’s popularity is at an all-time high, and the majority of Americans now believe that it is the federal government’s responsibility to provide health care for all Americans. This shift in sentiment suggests that a single-payer system — a “Medicare for all” — may soon be a politically viable solution to America’s health care woes. This system has long been an aspiration of the far left, yet even the right now seems to acknowledge its growing likelihood. Following his decision not to support the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), the Senate Republican leadership’s latest attempt to replace the ACA, Senator Jerry Moran, Republican of Kansas, warned in a statement: “[I]f we leave the federal government in control of everyday health care decisions, it is more likely that our health care system will devolve into a single-payer system, which
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Would a Hard Brexit Cripple the EU’s Digital Economy?

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After multiple terror attacks, a snap election with a surprise result, and a devastating fire in London, UK officials had plenty on their minds going into the the start of Brexit negotiations last month. They are tasked with brokering an exit from the EU at the same time that the British economy is showing signs of stress. It was the worst-performer among all advanced economies, with a paltry 0.2% growth in the first quarter of 2017, accompanied by a fall in the value of the pound and rising inflation. So one might assume that going into the Brexit talks, billed as “the most important negotiations in the country’s history”, the UK is negotiating from a fractured position. As the talks take shape, commentators have even started listing different forms of “national humiliation” for the UK. The presumption is that the UK is weak, while the EU
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Reach Robotics closes $7.5M Series A for its augmented reality bots

 After years of research and development, Reach Robotics has closed a $7.5 million Series A, co-led by Korea Investment Partners (KiP) and IGlobe, to bring its augmented reality bots to market in a big way. The Bristol-based startup is looking to expand into the U.S. and the team is exploring opportunities for growth into other European and Asian markets. Reach Robotics first product,… Read More