Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 21st Feb 2018 23:06 UTC
In the News

In other words, it's very likely you love Google, or are at least fond of Google, or hardly think about Google, the same way you hardly think about water systems or traffic lights or any of the other things you rely on every day. Therefore you might have been surprised when headlines began appearing last year suggesting that Google and its fellow tech giants were threatening everything from our economy to democracy itself. Lawmakers have accused Google of creating an automated advertising system so vast and subtle that hardly anyone noticed when Russian saboteurs co-opted it in the last election. Critics say Facebook exploits our addictive impulses and silos us in ideological echo chambers. Amazon’s reach is blamed for spurring a retail meltdown; Apple's economic impact is so profound it can cause market-wide gyrations. These controversies point to the growing anxiety that a small number of technology companies are now such powerful entities that they can destroy entire industries or social norms with just a few lines of computer code. Those four companies, plus Microsoft, make up America's largest sources of aggregated news, advertising, online shopping, digital entertainment and the tools of business and communication. They're also among the world's most valuable firms, with combined annual revenues of more than half a trillion dollars.

The recent focus on technology companies when it comes to corporate power is definitely warranted, but I do find it a little peculiar that it, at the same time, draws attention away from other sectors where giant corporations are possibly doing even more damage to society, like large oil companies and the environment, or the concentration of media companies.

One has to wonder if the recent aggressive focus on tech companies isn't entirely natural.

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RE[3]: Google is not a monpoly
by Alfman on Thu 22nd Feb 2018 05:22 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Google is not a monpoly"
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That is the difference between EU monopolies and USA monopolies. The EU will categorize someone as a monopoly even if they aren't erecting barriers to protect the monopoly. USA monopolies have to engage in the construction of barriers before they get punished.

I don't subscribe to the EU view. I don't believe simply having a high market share should be a crime. The crime is in erecting the barriers to keep competitors out.

In the US, there's no law against being a monopoly, only abusing it. Are there laws in the EU that punish corporations just for being a monopoly? If so, I wasn't aware of that, would you cite some examples of companies being punished for their market share alone?

In general I view the complaints toward Google as competitors trying to force Google to help them. For example if Google was going to all of the stores and making them sign contracts saying that they would exclusively offer their goods on Google and not on Foundem, that is monopolistic and should be punished. But if Foundem is arguing that Google has a high share and it should send Foundem free traffic to help them compete, in the USA that would considered ridiculous.

Not necessarily. The thing is capitalism relies on two, sometimes conflicting, foundations. A free market, and competition. They can conflict because a totally free market will often result in monopolies/oligopolies at the top controlling the majority of the market, which is to the detriment of healthy & viable competition.

Therefor, unless we want to end up in an end game where a few individuals/companies control everything, then we need to shift our attention to the other tenant of capitalism, namely competition. We should strive to achieve a balance, ideally with more than just one or two companies controlling the top 90%. It turns out though that this is extremely difficult to achieve not only because of free market concerns, but also because the less competition there is, the stronger the consolidation of power becomes, which means that if there isn't adequate protection for competition over time, then even more interference will eventually be required to correct it in the future.

In any case, US leaders are not willing to tackle market consolation. So for better or worse, I predict things overall to get less competitive over time. This means that for future generations, capitalism isn't going to be as rewarding as it's been for past generations.

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