Defenders of the free market argue that competition drives down prices and benefits all. Since 1990 in China alone nearly a billion have been lifted out of poverty and average income has increased dramatically. But competition and free markets can also lead to dangerous monopolies, and higher prices. As entrepreneurial gurus like Peter Thiel advise 'if you're starting a company, you always want to aim for monopoly'. Critics argue that unconstrained capitalism allows companies to cement an initial advantage by buying competitors, and using their scale to dominate the market. They claim the largest companies have hijacked capitalism and gained success not by competition but by acting like feudal overlords.
Should we conclude that free market capitalism inexorably leads to monopoly if it is not constrained? Do we urgently need to break up or rest control from the corporate giants that dominate the markets? Or can we relax, confident that in time capitalism and market forces will overturn the current overlords?