This is an interesting analysis of the problems caused by Big Tech monopolies. As we have seen, those few companies that control communication “chokepoints” in the economy, assert unchecked influence on not just commerce but politics.
The author offers the solution of a “mixed economy,” with government regulation of tech monopolies, but a free market in other sectors. My initial reaction to that is this: that might work if so many government officials and representatives weren’t bribed, blackmailed, and bullied by foreign and domestic predators.
What do you think?
“Today’s robber barons and their tollbooth enterprises wield vast and unchecked social and intellectual power, as well as market power. Amazon is far from monopolizing groceries, but it is a de facto infrastructure monopoly when it comes to book sales, and it uses that raw power to censor books that question the progressive party line for ideological rather than commercial reasons. For example, Amazon banned Ryan T. Anderson’s 2018 bestseller When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment, and explained in a letter to Republican members of Congress: “As to your specific question about When Harry Became Sally, we have chosen not to sell books that frame LGBTQ+ identity as a mental illness.” Although there is a debate among psychiatrists about how to classify gender dysphoria, Amazon has decided to censor scientific and theological debate on issues where it threatens the party line of progressive Democratic orthodoxy. When you search Amazon today, When Harry Became Sally is nowhere to be found—but in truly Orwellian fashion, Amazon does sell Kelly Novak’s rebuttal to Anderson’s now-disappeared book, Let Harry Become Sally: Responding to the Anti-Transgender Moment. Amazon also sells Mein Kampf.”
“The crisis of the new Gilded Age, then, is not caused by big business as such, or even by competitive businesses owned by tech billionaires, as the Microsoft and Google software rivalry suggests. The threat in today’s second Gilded Age comes from the lack of public regulation of a small number of commercial and social infrastructure platforms and grids that vast numbers of other businesses and consumers must use, with no realistic alternatives.”
“A mixed economy with a dynamic market sector does not necessarily produce infrastructure robber barons. In fact, industrial capitalism works best without them.”