Pluralistic: How to save the news from Big Tech (18 May 2023)

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A half-to-three-quarters-baked idea to fix capitalism.

A shovel in a pool of wet cement; from the left of the frame, we see the toe of a work-boot, seemingly poised to plunge the shovel into the wet concrete.
Alex Proimos/CC BY 2.0

America has a monopoly problem. The list of heavily concentrated industries grows longer by the day, even as the number of companies operating in each sector shrinks: pharmaceuticals, pharmaceutical benefit managers, health insurance, appliances, athletic shoes, books, alcohol, drug stores, office supplies, eyeglasses, TV ads, internet ads, internet search, semiconductors, enterprise software, LCDs, vitamin C, auto parts, glass bottles, bottle caps, pharmaceutical bottles, airlines, railroads, travel search, railroads, mattresses, lab equipment, lasik lasers, offshore oil services, onshore oil services, contract manufacturing, food services, Champagne, cowboy boots, home improvement stores, and candy.

Monopolists Declared War on America

Once an industry is concentrated, everyone suffers. Highly concentrated industries can abuse their workers with impunity, because there’s nowhere else for them to go. Once an industry is sufficiently concentrated, its workplaces become literal slaughterhouses where workers risk their lives every day, while their bosses place bets on which workers will die first.

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Pluralistic: 22 Feb 2022

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The Doctrine of Moral Hazard

When it comes to self-preferencing, right wing economists are right: incentives matter.

A referee in a striped jersey extends his arm to make a call; perched upon his arm is a vintage newspaper political cartoon of Roosevelt as a trustbuster, swinging a club.

Last week, the House Judiciary Committee spent 23 hours debating a historically unprecedented package of tech competition bills, surprising observers by passing all six of the legislative proposals under consideration, with bipartisan support.

Each of the six bills is interesting in its own ways — for example, the ACCESS Act (HR 6487) uses interoperability and standards to reduce the costs we bear when we leave monopoly platforms behind, by letting us stay in touch with the friends who stay.

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Pluralistic: 29 Jun 2020

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