Just before Halloween in 2013, Lina Khan wandered through the vast selection of sweets at her local Safeway supermarket and came away with a disturbing revelation. The roughly 40 brands of candy on the shelves offered only a mirage of consumer choice; they were actually owned by just two or three confectioners.
Khan, a junior policy analyst at the time, was so dismayed that she wrote about it in Time magazine. “If we want a healthier, more diverse market — and more variety in our Halloween buckets — we could start by reviving some of our antitrust laws.”
Khan’s critique of corporate power has gone far beyond Big Candy. She has explored concentration issues and monopolistic behaviour in sectors ranging from airlines to poultry and metals, drawing similar conclusions. And she started to train her attention on the excessive market influence of Big Tech, eventually becoming one of its most vocal and prominent critics.