How middlemen took over the economy

Vox's Emily Stewart talks with Kathryn Judge, professor at Columbia Law School and author of the new book Direct: The Rise of Middleman Economy and the Power of Going to the Source. They discuss how middlemen — which include real estate agents, stock brokers, but also Amazon and Walmart — came to assume such an outsized role in our economy, the pros and cons of middlemen in different market contexts, why Prof. Judge sees a fundamental difference between Etsy and Amazon, and how we consumers can change how we decide what to buy in order to help push the economy in a radically different direction. Host: Emily Stewart (@EmilyStewartM), senior correspondent, Vox Guests: Kathryn Judge (@ProfKateJudge), Harvey J. Goldschmid Professor of Law, Columbia University; author References:  Direct: The Rise of the Middleman Economy and the Power of Going to the Source by Kathryn Judge (Harper Business; 2022) "So Much for Cutting Out the Middleman" by Kathryn Judge (The Atlantic; June 9) "What Is Web3?" by Thomas Stackpole (Harvard Business Review; May 10) "The awful American consumer" by Emily Stewart (Vox; Apr. 7) Enjoyed this episode? Rate Vox Conversations ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of Vox Conversations by subscribing in your favorite podcast app. Support Vox Conversations by making a financial contribution to Vox! This episode was made by:  Producer: Erikk Geannikis Editor: Amy Drozdowska Engineer: Patrick Boyd Deputy Editorial Director, Vox Talk: Amber Hall Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

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