The Pros and Cons of Our “Middleman Economy”

HBR IdeaCast

Jun 7 2022 • 22 mins


Kathryn Judge, a finance professor at Columbia Law School, is troubled by the rise of intermediary platforms between products and services and the customers who eventually purchase them. Thanks to technology and globalization, she shows how the importance of “middlemen” in the value chain has increased, along with the length of global supply chains. Judge details the downsides and risks of this trend. And she explains how customers and workers alike can lead to intermediaries offering more transparency and social value. Judge wrote the book "Direct: The Rise of the Middleman Economy and the Power of Going to the Source.”