Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 14 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/1/21

Big Tech's Playing Monopoly. It's Going to Lose.

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   1 comment
Become a Premium Member Would you like to know how many people have read this article? Or how reputable the author is? Simply sign up for a Advocate premium membership and you'll automatically see this data on every article. Plus a lot more, too.
Author 76576
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Thomas Knapp

Monopoly board on white bg.
Monopoly board on white bg.
(Image by Wikipedia (commons.wikimedia.org), Author: fir0002 flagstaffotos [at] gmail.com Canon 20D + Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L)
  Details   Source   DMCA

Over the years, I've written many columns concerning the war on Internet freedom. My usual targets are the politicians and government agencies who serve as shock troops for the Dark Side across fronts ranging from encryption to sex worker advertisements to darknet marketplaces.

On the "private sector" side of things, I've generally just noted that anti-freedom business practices are bad business practices, that bad business practices tend to be self-punishing, and that none of the Big Actors in Big Tech are, strictly speaking, monopolies.

Now the war's been tuning up into its next phase, and Big Tech is finally taking an open stand against, rather than for, freedom. Facebook and Twitter are cracking down on speech (of both "right" and "left" varieties). Google, Amazon, Apple et al. are trying to take down sites and apps on which speech can't be easily regulated.

Why is Big Tech finally showing us an anti-freedom face?

If you have to ask why, the answer is almost always "money." That's certainly true in this case. Most of the firms in question enjoy substantial revenue from government contracts. They want to keep their single biggest customer happy both to preserve those revenue streams and to avoid the imposition of regulations that might cut into their profit margins.

But at this point, it's also safe to say that they're looking for "regulatory capture."

They see the handwriting on the wall. Regulation is coming whether they like it or not, but they're big players with plenty of lobbying money. They expect to influence the coming regulation to their own advantage.

They don't want to be big fish in a small pond. They want to be the ONLY fish in a big pond. They don't want to beat new competitors on the merits of their product and services. They want to use government regulation to make it impossible for those new competitors to put up any competition at all.

They're not monopolies yet, but they want to be. And they're making their play right now.

But unlike previous instances of regulatory capture -- such as that of electric power, which after a century of government-imposed "natural" monopolies imposed for the express purpose of benefiting Big Business, still has us over-paying to keep our lights on -- this one isn't going to work.

Short of government simply cutting the Internet off entirely, there's only one way this ends. If the Internet is allowed to survive at all, the would-be monopolies are going to come to grief. Even China's Communist regime and its quarter-century-old "Great Firewall" have proven inadequate to the task of separating users from the content and applications they seek.

The long-term result of American Big Tech allying itself with the state to suppress Internet freedom will be its withering as users desert it for offshore hosting and unstoppable peer-to-peer and distributed applications.

Yes, things are bad. They're going to get worse. But the outcome isn't in doubt. Big Tech can switch to the users' side, or it can go extinct.

 

Rate It | View Ratings

Thomas Knapp Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.


Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

2020: I'm So Sick of Superlatives

America Doesn't Have Presidential Debates, But It Should

Hypocrisy Alert: Republicans Agreed with Ocasio-Cortez Until About One Minute Ago

Chickenhawk Donald: A Complete and Total Disgrace

Finally, Evidence of Russian Election Meddling ... Oh, Wait

The Nunes Memo Only Partially "Vindicates" Trump, But it Fully Indicts the FBI and the FISA Court

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: