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Another Harper's Moment

I can't seem to quit writing about Harper's Magazine, especially since my old tried and true, NEWSWEEK, has corroded to crap right before my eyes. It's perhaps unfair to compare a weekly with a monthly, but Harper's always gives its readers something topical, but in a depth that NEWSWEEK has long since discarded. 




In the February 2012 Harper's, Barry C. Lynn's report, "Killing the Competition," is a jaw-droppingly good piece of reportage on the manner in which not only banks and other financial institutions have morphed into monopolies, as they did prior to Teddy Roosevelt's day, but how tech companies have done the same. He goes into detail about the way both Apple and Amazon have become economic juggernauts, co-opting competition as they develop and draw in tech-friendly customers like me. He goes beyond that, though, to poultry farms, and other agribusiness. His bottom line? This is the way it is and shall be. But he hopes at the same time that we'll find a way to re-establish real markets again, in a real free market.

And the fiction here continues to be top drawer. "Old Mrs. J." by Yoko Ogawa (a shout-out here to Stephen Snyder's agile translation) depicts a seemingly charming but crusty old lady. But in the spirit of O. Henry, perhaps, and Poe, things aren't quite what they seem.

Another fine, balanced issue.