How the Demise of Antitrust Enforcement Affects Your Eyesight


The New York Times features a short video today about Warby Parker, the online eyeglass company that “wants to do everything themselves, from designing to manufacturing to selling the product.” I didn’t learn much about Warby Parker from this piece, but I question the Times’ claim that they truly “want” to do all that stuff. More likely, they simply have no choice because the United States government no longer bothers enforcing antitrust law. Luxottica’s stranglehold on the design, manufacture, and retail sales of eyewear is so strong that any wannabe competitor has no real choice except to do everything themselves. This is why a simple pair of replacement lenses now costs 300 bucks at LensCrafters, even though the technology existed to sell them for a hundred bucks two decades ago.

Anyway, good for Warby Parker, and I hope they manage to build a retail presence someday too. But their attempt to make an entrepreneurial buck is a lot harder than it ought to be. It’s just one small example of the demise of antitrust enforcement over the past few decades, which is itself a small example of the way that the rich have not just rigged the rules of the capitalist game for their own benefit, but convinced everyone it’s for their own good. We are all victims of economic Stockholm Syndrome these days.

THANK YOU.

We recently wrapped up the crowdfunding campaign for our ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project, and it was a smashing success. About 10,364 readers pitched in with donations averaging $45, and together they contributed about $467,374 toward our $500,000 goal.

That's amazing. We still have donations from letters we sent in the mail coming back to us, so we're on pace to hit—if not exceed—that goal. Thank you so much. We'll keep you posted here as the project ramps up, and you can join the hundreds of readers who have alerted us to corruption to dig into.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.