A note from our editor, Elizabeth MacBride:
Most of the coverage of President Joe Biden’s sweeping 72-action plan to re-ignite anti-trust enforcement and rein in big business has been long on analysis and short on facts. So, here are a few interesting stats that show how far things have swung in favor of big business and big tech in the past 40 years. An interesting side note: many people date the decline in anti-trust enforcement to the rise of the consumer protection movement. The pursuit of lower prices created an emphasis on scale and came at a high cost to our civil society and small business.
Some of these stats are from The New Builders, others from the U.S. House of Representatives’ report on Big Tech from October of last year, and others from the Congressional Budget Office:
• The rate at which firms were created in the U.S. economy decreased from 10 percent of all businesses in 1982 to 8 percent in 2018, and the share of employment belonging to new firms (those less than five years old) fell from 14 percent to 9 percent over that same period.
• In the 1980s, 80% of new locations were startup businesses. — aka, Main Street businesses. Today, 40% are new locations of chain stores.
•The entrepreneurship rate defined as the “ share of startups and young firms” in the high-tech industry as a whole fell from 60 % in 1982 to a low of 38% as of 2011.
• Newspaper employees have seen employment fall by half over a recent eight-year period, from 71,000 in 2008 to 35,000 in 2019.
• Amazon has 2.3 million active third-party sellers on its marketplace worldwide, and a recent survey estimates that about 37% of them—about 850,000 sellers—rely on Amazon as their sole source of income.
• 85% of Americans are concerned—either very concerned or somewhat concerned— about the amount of data online platforms store about them, and 81% are concerned that platforms are collecting and holding this data in order to build out more comprehensive consumer profiles.
Most chilling to me were the sections in the Congressional report that described small business owners’ and workers’ fear of speaking out against Big Tech. They worried about retribution and their livelihoods being destroyed. This is the kind of fear I’ve heard when reporting in countries governed by autocratic regimes. It is no way to live.
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Living the Dream
Best practices: With many employees burned out and fed up, taking time to listen to what your team is trying to tell you is not optional. A group of Burger King employees just made their dissatisfaction with their jobs (and management) known by posting a sign outside that said, “We all quit. Sorry for the inconvenience.” Experts suggest a daily stand-up meeting that will help you understand the issues and how people are feeling.
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Giveaway: The first reader to respond to this email will win a free, signed copy of the updated paperback edition of The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business by Elaine Pofeldt. Make great money, work the way you like, have the life you want.
The 4.5 hour workweek : A productivity hack
You may not be able to squeeze your workweek into four hours but you may want to think about reducing it to four days. Iceland just tried an experiment that found reducing hours upped workers’ wellbeing and life/work balance. Today, 86% of the country’s workers have cut their hours or have won the right to that option.
Made in the U.S.A.
Casper, Wyo.-based Wild Gear is getting set to manufacture its “Freedom Series: of coolers – “built to survive in the toughest conditions” – domestically. They start at about $190.
Wanderlust : a restaurant or activity from our Top Ecosystems list
Next time you head to San Antonio, check out The Moon’s Daughters, at the Thompson Hotel downtown that Business Jet Traveler just listed in the state’s top five restaurants. The restaurant serve this summer’s soulful invertebrate: hazelnut and lemon butter octopus is on the menu.
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