MFU hosts meeting on creating a fairer economy
ST. PAUL, Minn. – The economy and inflation were top issues in the election and research shows that voters blame the monopolization of markets for rising inflation.
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) argues that monopoly domination is not inevitable and state legislators can play a key role in creating a fairer economy. MFU, together with partners, the Main Street Alliance and The Awood Center, hosted a meeting Dec. 15 to share information about why market concentration matters and what legislators can do to make a difference in the lives of family farmers, workers, consumers and small business owners. More than 40 people attended the meeting, including a diverse group of legislators.
“We are living in a moment of nearly unchecked corporate power across our economy, and Minnesotans are paying the price,” said Rep. Emma Greenman, DFL-Minneapolis. “As we head back to the Capitol in January, our job is to focus on the structural reforms that will shift power from giant corporations and back to the families, farmers, workers, and communities who drive our democracy and power our economy.”
“The economy today is 50 percent more concentrated than it was in 2005 and a few corporations dominate the entire market in a wide range of industries. These corporate monopolies use their power to raise prices, lower wages, offshore jobs, hurt smaller businesses, and influence public policy and politics,” said MFU Vice President Anne Schwagerl. “Fortunately, markets do not have to operate this way. Right here in Minnesota we can tame the power of these giant companies.”
A package of three bills that will make Minnesota a leader in curbing the immense power of corporate monopolies and protecting fair and open markets were discussed at the meeting. The bills will be introduced in the 2023 legislative session, which begins Jan. 3, 2023.
Greenman plans to introduce an abuse of dominance standard to help restore antitrust law to its traditional role of protecting family farmers, workers and small businesses from abusive or anti-competitive conduct from dominant firms.
Rep. Steve Elkins, DFL-Bloomington, will carry the other two bills. The first bill establishes clearer definitions of monopoly and monopsony power, which is monopoly power of a buyer instead of a seller. It makes clear that attempting to violate antitrust law is illegal and increases penalties for violating Minnesota antitrust law.
The second bill aims to help create economic fairness by strengthening protections against price discrimination to create a level playing field where dominant retailers are not favored and are not allowed to use their sheer size to bully others in the retail sector.
“Minnesota’s current antitrust laws are inadequate for addressing the level of corporate concentration in the economy today,” Elkins said. “I look forward to advancing reforms that will modernize our antitrust laws and protect small retailers across the state.”
“Together, we can create new protections for Minnesotans that can help ensure fair markets and create greater opportunity for farmers, rural communities and all Minnesotans,” Schwagerl said. “We thank Attorney General Keith Ellison for his leadership in crafting this legislation.”
About Minnesota Farmers Union
Minnesota Farmers Union works to protect and enhance the economic interests and quality of life of family farmers and ranchers and rural communities. MFU is a nonprofit membership-based organization. Membership is open to everyone. Learn more and join at www.mfu.org and follow MFU on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Contact: Janet Kubat, (507) 696-6961 or email@example.com
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