The Growth Of Monopoly Power In Big Tech And Its Consequences

In the article Tech Giants Google, Facebook and Amazon Intensify Antitrust Debate, Jacob M. Schlesinger, Brent Kendall and John D. McKinnon from The Wall Street Journal, address the issue of monopoly power especially in Big Tech and the insufficient antitrust regulations that would primarily fail to break up the great dominance of the Big Tech. This huge growth of monopoly firms’ power may negatively affect the economy and harm users and business rivals. The US government stood by as big tech companies like Facebook and Google growth hacked and gobbled up competitors on their way to dominance, with barely a mention of “anticompetitive” concerns, but that lax attitude is changing now and the antitrust law began to take its course to try to deter the Giants. The battle of antitrust for the 21st century falls into 3 camps, the instigators of antitrust revival, the conservative disciplines who are the supporter of the current system and people in the middle who are a group of center-left policy makers who see a role for more-aggressive enforcement. Overall, the excessive growth of these firms has come out of control and antitrust is no longer useful to limit the degree of algorithmic sophistication with which these firms exploit human weaknesses and greed to their advantage.

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To examine the idea of antitrust, it can be represented by a monopolistic model in an extreme case of capitalism. In other words, monopoly means the absence of competition and thus control of the market and the extension of domination that governments try to resist. Monopolies open the way for an entity to impose its dominance and impose its product with whatever quality and price, and then increase the profits of that entity. Because monopolization threatens the state’s existence, putting strict laws to deal with it is essential to create a balance in the markets, remove the idea of market control and inflate individual wealth at the expense of the working class. Government set regulations to reduce the size of these corporations as well as the clout that they have over people, and one of these regulations is the antitrust law which can promote competition in the market and prevent merges and acquisitions. Lately, both Facebook and Google have been not paying enough attention on users’ privacy and personal information, and people do not have an alternative, so they must accept their conditions and give up their privacy. Another problem with Big Tech is that they help spreading malicious news among people that can create economic and political problems internationally. Usually capitalists believe in a free market and competition, but this is not the case in Tech markets.

Furthermore, these firms’ value increases as the number of consumers increases, so even if a new firm enter the market it would be hard to get costumers. With such broad control and spread their cost would fall as their outputs ever-increase and government interventions and antitrust laws would not stop big companies from merging and acquiring just like when Facebook has acquired both Instagram and WhatsApp. In the article, the three authors focus more on the two camps of instigators of antitrust and the group of the in the middle that appeared to them that antitrust is not sufficient and they need more technological and digital enforcement and regulation to fight the domination of these monopolies. A counter argument is that the current system is working great and monopolization is beneficial to the government and to boost its GDP. The Big Tech companies are the richest firms in the world, they can control, advertise certain products that benefit users and suppliers and make the country more influential, so if the government would step in with strong antitrust regulations that would restrict the success and the profits of these companies on which the economy is based. But on the other hand, the big and final result in the article was that Big Tech monopolies are too dominant and antitrust is not enough to stop them, in this case the only way to limit their power would be by setting price regulations but in the Big Tech world data is their currency so it should also be the currency of those looking to regulate them, so creating advanced tools than can protect users’ information can be a good idea or trying to break up these firm into small companies can also help and make it easier for the government.

In conclusion, the growth of monopolies is unstoppable, and antitrust is unable to break their influence. The US government has failed to stop these big firms and it will not succeed, but they can create new ways to only protect the consumers rather than destroying the giant monopolies. The firms would still make profits but at least the government can keep its people safe.  

10 December 2020

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