Introducing Vass Bednar and Denise Hearn: the 2024 McGill Max Bell Lecturers

Look forward to the new book on competition and accompanying lectures this fall from Vass Bednar and Denise Hearn.

The McGill Max Bell Lectures began in 2023 with economist Andrew Leach and were drawn from his book, Between Doom and Denial: Facing Facts about Climate Change. The lectures will continue in 2024 with writers and competition policy experts Vass Bednar & Denise Hearn. The series will help readers think about how markets are made and remade, the importance and limitations of present-day competition policy, and the need to reconsider the optimal role of the Canadian state in moderating corporate behaviour. 

The 2024 lecturers are Vass Bednar and Denise Hearn.

Vass Bednar is the Executive Director of McMaster University's MPP in Digital Society program (on leave). Her work focuses on the intersection(s) between public policy and technology. She contributes to policy discussions in Canada through her affiliations as a Senior Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), a Fellow at the Public Policy Forum (PPF), opinion editorials in the Globe and Mail and the Financial Post, and her popular newsletter "regs to riches." Vass was recently recognized as a Globe and Mail Report on Business “Changemaker” for her work describing Cineplex’s unique monopolization and calling out shady apps on Shopify. She is a graduate of McMaster's Arts & Science program and holds a Master of Public Policy from the University of Toronto.

Denise Hearn is a writer and applied researcher who advises governments, financial institutions, companies, and nonprofits on antitrust, economic policy, and new economic thinking. She is currently a Resident Senior Fellow at the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, a joint center of Columbia University Law School and Columbia Climate School. Denise co-authored The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition – named one of the Financial Times’ Best Books of 2018. Her writing has been translated into 9 languages and featured in major publications globally. She currently authors the Embodied Economics newsletter. Denise has an MBA from the Oxford Saïd Business School and a BA in International Studies from Baylor University.

How Companies Are Changing Markets and the Face of Competition

It is widely acknowledged that Canada has a competition problem, more and more of the economy is controlled by only a few companies even including niche sectors like funeral services to movie theatres. Today, de facto private regulators – in the form of the largest and most powerful corporations – set market rules and norms outside of more democratic channels. Why are monopolies a problem?  Will changing Canada's competition policy really make an impact? The series will address these questions by doing a deep analysis of the significance and limitations of the current competition policy as well as highlighting measures that need to be taken by the Canadian government to alter this corporate dynamic.

"In this project, we also hope to trace larger lessons about how markets and companies have changes in recent decades, and how our regulatory regimes need to keep pace with this changes- these themes should be globally applicable," said Denise Hearn. 

We're looking forward to learning more from Vass Bednar and Denise Hearn, on steps Canada should take to improve its competition policy. This book is for anyone who cares about the future of the Canadian economy, and dares to envision more productive, vibrant, and democratic markets.

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