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The New Monopolists
IT has impacted the economy in myriad ways;IT has improved life enormously.But, by enabling the rise of monopoly power, and by facilitating barriers to entry, the growth of IT has also had major negative economic, social, and political side effects, including the proliferation of “fake news.”For starters, the very structure of the IT sector allows for the formation of monopoly power. IT has improved the processing, storage, and transmission of data, and IT innovators are the sole owners of major information channels that they actively work to prevent competitors from using.Income created by firms with monopoly power is divided into three types: labor income, normal interest income paid to capital, and monopoly profits. The data show that in the 1970s and early 1980s, monopoly profits were negligible. But since 1984, the share of monopoly profits has risen steadily; it reached 23% of total income produced by American corporations in 2015. This means that during the three decades before 2015, monopoly power caused the combined shares of wages and normal interest on capital to decline by 23%.The negative side effects of IT are not well understood, and public discussion of how to regulate the sector is urgently needed. Three considerations are critical. First, because most technology-based monopoly power does not violate existing antitrust laws, regulating IT will require new measures to weaken monopolies. New concepts of the public interest are also needed for regulating new public information channels such as social networks. Second, standard views of business income and wealth taxation will need to be adapted to account for IT firms’ monopoly power. And, third, laws intended to protect private information should be reevaluated to ensure that IT companies are unable to profit from exploiting and manipulating it.
ps-columns  monopolies 
22 days ago by thomas.kochi
Silicon Valley Is Not Your Friend - The New York Times
Growth becomes the overriding motivation — something treasured for its own sake, not for anything it brings to the world. Facebook and Google can point to a greater utility that comes from being the central repository of all people, all information, but such market dominance has obvious drawbacks, and not just the lack of competition. As we’ve seen, the extreme concentration of wealth and power is a threat to our democracy by making some people and companies unaccountable.

In addition to their power, tech companies have a tool that other powerful industries don’t: the generally benign feelings of the public. To oppose Silicon Valley can appear to be opposing progress, even if progress has been defined as online monopolies; propaganda that distorts elections; driverless cars and trucks that threaten to erase the jobs of millions of people; the Uberization of work life, where each of us must fend for ourselves in a pitiless market.

As is becoming obvious, these companies do not deserve the benefit of the doubt. We need greater regulation, even if it impedes the introduction of new services. If we can’t stop their proposals — if we can’t say that driverless cars may not be a worthy goal, to give just one example — then are we in control of our society? We need to break up these online monopolies because if a few people make the decisions about how we communicate, shop, learn the news, again, do we control our own society?
SiliconValley  Google  Facebook  personalData  monopolies  power  accountability  control  ethics  regulation 
4 weeks ago by petej
Nestlé Makes Billions Bottling Water It Pays Nearly Nothing For - Bloomberg
The company’s operation in Michigan reveals how it’s dominated the industry by going into economically depressed areas with lax water laws.
water  monopolies  economics 
7 weeks ago by jorgebarba
Expert: "We Are Spiraling Towards A Dystopian Future Where a Few Tech Companies Control Our Lives"
Companies like Google and Amazon show no signs of slowing their growth, leading some to believe they'll become too big to control. But FTC Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen thinks they're okay, for now, because market share doesn't always lead to domination.
amazon  Google  monopolies  economics 
9 weeks ago by jorgebarba

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