Columbia Law professor Tim Wu lays it out in his new book The Curse of Bigness.
It’s been almost two decades since the last major trustbusting case in the United States. When will regulators come for the new Silicon Valley giants?
Tim Wu, in his book The Curse of Bigness, which is a cool 160 pages and politely holds the reader’s hand through about 200 years of American economic policy and practice, argues that the time is now, “to control economic structure before it controls us.”
We need to break up Facebook, undoings its acquisitions of Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014. Then we should take on Google and Amazon, the airline industry, the beer industry, all these concentrations of wealth and political power that have enabled what could be called a second Gilded Age — which sounds nice but isn’t.
“As that era has taught us,” Wu writes. “Extreme economic concentration yields gross inequality and material suffering, feeding an appetite for nationalistic and extremist leadership.”
“Extreme economic concentration yields gross inequality and material suffering, feeding an appetite for nationalistic and extremist leadership”
Wu is best known for coining the term “net neutrality” and arguing that it is as crucial to democracy as the First Amendment. He also served as a senior adviser to the Federal Trade Commission from 2011 to 2012, when Facebook bought Instagram and when Google was averaging an acquisition per week, and he’s blunt about the decisions made: “I think we blew it,” he told me. “There’s a bad habit in Washington where you make a mistake and then you pretend it was a good decision. I think we should admit