By Kathryn Judge

Direct book cover
Added August 8, 2022

Finance expert, law professor and fellow overwhelmed consumer investigates the surprising ways that middlemen have taken control of the economy at the expense of the rest of us, and provides practical guidance about how to regain control, find more meaning, and contribute to a more sustainable economy. Over the past thirty years, middlemen have built intricate financial and retail empires capable of moving goods across the country and around the world--transforming the economy and our lives. Because of middlemen, investors and consumers enjoy an unprecedented degree of choice and convenience. But the rise of the middleman economy comes at a steep price. Drawing on a decade of research, Kathryn Judge shows how to fight back: Go to the source. Judge shows how overgrown middlemen became the backbone of modern capitalism and the cause of many of its ailments. Middlemen today shape what people do, how they invest, and what they consume. They use their troves of data to push people to buy more, and more expensive, products. They use their control over critical infrastructure to suppress innovation and competition. They use their massive profits and expertise to lobby lawmakers, tilting the playing field in their favor. As Judge reveals through research and stories from her own life as a parent and consumer, direct exchange fosters connection and community and helps promote a more just, resilient, and accountable economic system. As she reveals in this much-needed book, direct exchange is both the cornerstone of the solution and a tool for revealing just how much is at stake in decisions about "through whom" to buy, invest and give.

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