Concern has been growing across the political spectrum about the power and influence of Big Tech—on everything from its censoring speech to quashing competition. This week, the EU took sweeping action to curb this power. The U.S. Senate is considering a bill that similarly seeks to limit the tech platforms’ market share, while the FTC has been considering innovative approaches to applying existing antitrust laws. How should these efforts be understood? Is Big Tech really the problem that it’s portrayed to be? Is it one that government is best positioned to solve? Here is a selection of recent arguments by thought leaders sympathetic to the free market to shed lights on these questions. Many are skeptical of government efforts to rein in Big Tech.
- The Cato Institute’s Alan Reynolds raises doubts that the large tech companies can be understood as monopolies.
- Scott Lincicome, also of Cato, argues that reforming and eliminating regulations is the best way to promote long-term competition.
- “The Protectionist Roots of Antitrust,” by Don Boudreaux, and “Five Myths about Antitrust Law,” by John Mayo and Mark Whitener, dispel common myths that antitrust law aims to promote competition.
- TechFreedom’s Corbin K. Barthold explores the FTC’s internal problems and why its newly aggressive approach is dangerous for economic liberty.
- In contrast, others see an important though limited role for government to play here.
- The University of Chicago’s Luigi Zingales is concerned about the lack of competition among digital platforms, while also recognizing the drawbacks of growing regulation. The Stigler Center, which he heads, this past year released policy recommendations that seek to rein in Big Tech’s excesses while “not reducing [its] enormous benefits.”
- Vivek Ramaswamy believes that the current laws are sufficient to ensure free expression, but that they must be enforced in a novel way. He argues Section 230 protections oblige tech companies to respect the First Amendment. He further argues that Section 230 immunity should be an “opt-in” provision.