(Sen. Joseph C. O'Mahoney 1950 - back when Anti-Trust laws meant something)
I've been reading a lot lately about the recent call-for-boycott of The Whole Foods supermarket chain - how disclosures have been coming to light of predatory practices with reference to killing off small business seen as competition in the marketplace.
I came across a broadcast, part of the American Forum series from January 22, 1950, featuring a debate between Senator Joseph C. O'Mahoney (D-Wyoming) and Carl Beyer, a Public Relations Consultant for the A&P Supermarket chain over a series of court cases regarding A&P and their labor and business practices.
In 1950, A&P was probably the largest single supermarket chain in the U.S. But not only that, they were also one of the larger conglomerates in the food industry, owning several related subsidiary companies, pretty much like large corporations are now.
But in 1950 there were a series of strong Anti-Trust laws in place that prevented corporations from gaining a monopoly in the marketplace. And A&P were at the center of such a controversy, one that went all the way to the Supreme Court.
I lieu of our recent "Companies too big to fail" dilemma, one would imagine our anti-trust laws have been gutted and abandoned in recent years, tossed out in favor of predator-monopolies. The whole change in landscape of our media, our entertainment, our banking have come about as a direct result of tossing Anti-trust out the window.
This lively debate certainly nails some fundamental problems we're facing today.
Ones that need to be taken seriously (for a change) again.