The Committee on Global Thought is a proud co-sponsor of:

The Ascent of the Middlemen: How middlemen came to be the largest and most powerful companies in the world, why it matters, and what can be done

Amazon and Walmart are the two biggest revenue generators and two biggest employers in the United States. Their founding families are the richest families in the country. Rather than being outliers, they are representative of the rise of a new “middleman economy,” one dominated by giant middlemen and the long, complex supply chains they feed. This makes goods cheaper, investment easier, and daily life less onerous for people living in advanced economies, helping to explain how we got here. Yet it has also perpetuated fundamental changes in how the economy works, and for whom. The session will explore how the rise of the middleman economy reduces accountability, increases fragility, and undermines community. On a more hopeful note, the sessions will explore the way government policies, innovation, and individual choice can help to restore a healthier balance, with particular attention to the growing ways people are opting to directly to the source when buying, investing, and giving.


This event is a part of Columbia Academy on Law in Global Affairs (CALGA), a series of online open-access events, in which Columbia Law School faculty present their research and debate current issues with colleagues from around the globe.