Defenders of the free market argue that competition drives down prices and benefits all. China is the poster child for this case with nearly a billion lifted out of poverty since 1990. But competition and free markets can also lead to dangerous monopolies, and higher prices. Entrepreneurial gurus like Peter Thiel advise 'if you're starting a company, aim for monopoly'. Critics argue that unconstrained capitalism allows companies to cement initial advantage by buying competitors, and using scale to dominate the market. They claim the world's largest companies have 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 replace the current overlords with new ones?    

Former Deputy Finance Minister for Iraq Ali Allawi, and co-founder of the new Institute for Journalism and Social Change Claire Provost, debate free markets and feudal overlords.

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