On Wednesday July 29th, Congress interrogated four big tech CEOs — Apple’s Tim Cook, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Google’s Sundar Pichai and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg — about the power that these four companies have over the U.S. economy and our society. In Politico, in advance of the hearing held by Antitrust Subcommittee Chair David Cicilline, ILSR Legal Fellow Shaoul Sussman and monopoly expert Matt Stoller articulate the implications of this investigation.
For some, this hearing may seem like a series of technical questions about market power, and for others, a mere congressional spectacle. But the stakes are high. This hearing is part of the only major investigation into corporate power by any Congress in recent memory. How this hearing goes, and whether Congress over the next few years develops the confidence to break up and regulate these giants, will in many ways determine whether America remains a self-governing democracy.
The authors also explain the history of antimonopoly forces in the U.S., why Congress began letting corporate run amok again, and the impacts of that decision.
The harms here are real. America has lost over a hundred thousand local, independent retail businesses, a drop of 40 percent from 2000 to 2015, largely due to Amazon. And this is not good for consumers; Amazon allows thousands of counterfeit and unsafe products on its marketplace, because it doesn’t have the same liability for products that normal retailers do. Because of its surveillance over its Marketplace, Amazon copies the design of successful products, which destroys the incentive to innovate.
Read the Politico article here.
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