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Reminder: Tech Giants are not monopolies

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Reminder Tech Giants are not monopolies

There is a lot of disgust aimed towards tech giants such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter. And why not? These companies are large, incredibly biased, and quite powerful. Their reach is everywhere, striving towards omnipresence. Their influence can sway public opinion, as evident on issues such as Net Neutrality and to reach back for a more benign issue, SOPA 2014. Another concern is the pubic safety of personal information. Data breaches, hacks, and leaks are all significant risks. In China, Google has assisted the government with the surveillance of their people. And while public safety is an issue, the solution of regulating these large companies as monopolies is fraudulent in its premise. The enact anti-trust laws would ignore the simple fact: neither Google, Facebook, or Twitter are monopolies.

Antitrust

But denotation doesn’t stop individuals from advocating action. Kurt Schlicter of Townhall wrote a fiery piece advocating for serious regulation.

And what’s also scary is their willful manipulation of the algorithms that determine what can and cannot be said and read. If you don’t exist on Google, in many ways, you really don’t exist at all. Well, that’s intolerable. Our free society conducts its business on the Internet, and if one unaccountable, partisan group can decide what topics can and cannot be discussed, we no longer have a free society. We’d have a fascist one, and fascists are bad even if those fascists swill kombucha tea, bike to work at a Mountain View campus, and spew ridiculous mottos like “Don’t be evil.”

By definition, a monopoly is when a single firm has absolute market share. Yet the federal government has its own definition. And that definition is comprised in the form of antitrust laws. Ryan Cooper of The Week proposed:

It could be that careful anti-trust action could build a market with several search competitors, and thereby create some competition. But certainly all search platforms should be forced to follow something like a railroad’s common carriage rules, where websites are not allowed to be ranked according to how much they might profit the platform itself, and get fair access to search traffic.

This action would break Google apart into several companies and only enrich Google shareholders. The Google splinters would crush the actual competitors of Google rendering making this polygopoly a more clear monopoly for the shareholders than it was already before. Historically speaking, the Rockefellers gained an immense amount of wealth after Standard Oil broke apart. Again it must be said about how Coopers supposition is a flagrant misuse of antitrust law.

Suicidal?

Microsoft’s battle in the 1990s is a crowning misuse of antitrust law. Microsoft was found to be a monopoly because they put their own software, internet explorer, on their own operating system, Windows. What Microsoft did was clear business instinct. Yet the feds and several states wanted to split them up. Their plan ultimately failed but the precedent remains. In 1999, Milton Friedman referred to companies seeking to break up Microsoft as suicidal, seeking action that would one day be used against them.

“Under the circumstances, given that we do have antitrust laws, is it really in the self-interest of Silicon Valley to set the government on Microsoft? Your industry, the computer industry, moves so much more rapidly than the legal process, that by the time this suit is over, who knows what the shape of the industry will be. Never mind the fact that the human energy and the money that will be spent in hiring my fellow economists, as well as in other ways, would be much more productively employed in improving your products. It’s a waste! But beyond that, you will rue the day when you called in the government. From now on the computer industry, which has been very fortunate in that it has been relatively free of government intrusion, will experience a continuous increase in government regulation. Antitrust very quickly becomes regulation. Here again is a case that seems to me to illustrate the suicidal impulse of the business community.”

The USFL is another clear example where using antitrust was literally business suicide. The United States Football League launched in 1983 as a spring alternative to the NFL. Yet in their poor management, they moved to fall where the NFL had all of the TV contracts and sued the NFL for antitrust. In truth, their very existence disproved the notion that the NFL was a monopoly, also the existence of college football. The USFL invested everything into the antitrust suit and won $3 dollars($1 tripled).

Competition

Google/ Alphabet

Search Engine, adsales, appstore, Youtube, email, consumer electronics, operating systems, big data, web browser, programs, social network etc.
  • Verizon (Yahoo, AOL) – failed internet giant, search engine, adsales, email
  • Apple – fellow tech giant, consumer electronics, app store, operating system
  • Microsoft – operating systems, direct competitor to Google’s word processing platform, web browser(sort of), app store, search engine
  • DuckDuckGo – private search engine
  • Opera – web browser, free VPN/ adblock
  • Brave – web browser with adblock
  • Netflix – content streaming platform
  • Hulu – Content streaming platform
  • TV – not a company but a replacement for Youtube
  • Yelp – review website

Facebook

Social networks, text app for europeans,
  • Twitter – microblogging platform
  • Minds – social network
  • Snapchat – picture messaging, social network
  • Craigslist – localized ad sales
  • Reddit – online community based on interest
  • Myspace – Technically still a thing, rebranded as a music page
  • Codias – political social network

Twitter

Microblogging platform
  • WordPress – webhosting, blogging platform
  • Gab – Turkish microblogging platform
  • Steemit – cryptocurrency social network for original content creators
  • Kialo – social media platform for civil debate
  • Micgoat – video/blogging platform for debate

Conclusion

As you can see, Google is so large and expansive, they cannot be considered a monopoly, for their is competition every industry they are in. Their most serious competitors are other tech giants, like Microsoft and Apple. Facebook has numerous competitors as does Twitter. Just because their competition lacks prominence, doesn’t mean there is a monopoly.

The titans of tech are not monopolies, nor should we want them treated as such. Treating Facebook as a monopoly would create at least three large companies. And these newly divided large companies would eventually merge together and crush the alternative social platforms that currently exist. Rather these platforms would benefit from these companies remaining large and having bad PR. These companies will create innovations and capitalize on their fall should they end up like Yahoo or Kodak.

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Economy

Gary Vaynerchuk never talks about politics, but he’s great when he does

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Gary Vaynerchuk never talks about politics but hes great when he does

Language warning, in case you’ve never listened to Gary Vaynerchuk before. I have, and he’s great.

Those who know of Gary Vaynerchuk think of wine, social media, and digital strategy. The Belarusian American entrepreneur has been an outspoken advocate of all things “віно і маркетинг” for over a decade, but he rarely speaks about politics.

Recently, he did, and one prediction in particular caught my eye.

In an interview for Capitalism by Ryan Daniel Moran, Vaynerchuk said, “I believe we’re seeing the beginning stages of a four party system in America in the next 50 to 100 years.”

The way he sees it, both major parties are pushing to the extremes on the ideological scale, opening up spots for moderate progressives and moderate conservatives to have major parties of their own. This is the case in most countries; the United States is one of the few that has a true two-party system despite the fact that most of our founding fathers didn’t want it to turn out this way.

John Adams said:

There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.

But Vaynerchuk, who has built a career around being write much more often than he’s wrong, says the opening is already being seen today. He railed against both parties, blaming both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama for poorly handling the financial crisis of the late 00s.

Millions have learned over the years to listen to Gary Vaynerchuk when he’s offering opinions. Though his political opinions are few and far between, there’s a wisdom to them you don’t hear from the pundits. It’s authentic, a rare quality indeed.

Petition Capitol Hill for Term Limits

Sign the petition. We demand Congress immediately put together legislation that spells out term limits for themselves. Americans need to know who is willing to suppress their own power for the sake of the nation. This can only happen by bringing legislation to the floor.

Will you help revive the American Conservative Movement?

 


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Economy

Charlie Kirk: Capitalism saves lives

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Charlie Kirk Capitalism saves lives

I’m normally not a fan of quick bursts of talking points, preferring longer, fact-filled discussions on topics as important as capitalism versus socialism. With that said, Turning Point‘s Charlie Kirk knocks it out of the park with talking points that totaled 33 seconds.

But even though the video was short, this article will take a bit longer to read. I’m not going to talk about the clear evidence that capitalism is far superior to socialism (or any other economic -ism). Instead, I’d like to focus on the challenge pro-capitalism activists face. Our message is right, and for the most part our nation accepts this. But things are changing. The indoctrination in schools combined with the propaganda in mainstream media and the false narratives from Democrats are all combining to deceive the masses in ways many thought impossible just a few years ago.

Would you have thought over 50% of college students would support socialism over capitalism at any point in American history if someone told you that a decade ago? If you would have, you’re much smarter than me. I couldn’t imagine the will of the people being so misled that many would abandon the system that has clearly worked in exchange for a system that has never worked. It makes no sense, and therein lies the problem with the progressive movement today.

As our EIC noted, logic doesn’t always prevail.

We must, as conservatives, continue to push out the right message. We might think it’s commons sense, but apparently common sense is becoming less common in America. We need to keep pushing.

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Economy

Executive order targeting Huawei is the right move at the right time

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Executive order targeting Huawei is the right move at the right time

American technology companies, particularly those in the telecommunications industry, have been fools for far too long. While China as actively and aggressively sought to not only steal our technology but subvert it by inserting their own untrustworthy components into our systems, many American companies have turned a blind eye to the threats they pose to every American.

That won’t happen anymore. President Trump signed an executive order defending against technological attacks by the Chinese and specifically targeted Huawei, the Chinese telecomm giant that has been inserting itself rapidly into as many technological conversations as it can all across the world.

The right move

There are certain aspects of protectionism that do not appeal to me, but when it comes to technological protectionism, I’m all in. For years I’ve done what I can to limit the amount of Chinese technology in the devices I use for one simple reason: I don’t trust them.

Yes, they’re cheaper. But they’re also cheaper in the way they’re produced. Though China has made many technological advances in recent years (much of which can likely be attributed to theft of technology from other countries), they’re still behind in most regards compared to Japanese, Korean, Israeli, Australian, and European technologies. But that’s not a huge deal at this point; you get what you pay for and if certain sacrifices to quality make sense, so be it as long as it’s cheaper.

But there’s a nefarious aspect to the way the Chinese have inserted their technologies into the global mix. China has a very poor track record of obeying international laws, adhering to security protocols, and believing in the right to privacy. In China, there is no privacy which is why their technology often bypasses privacy controls put in place to protect individuals.

With the growing 5G infrastructure at the center of this move, now is not the time to take risks. If Huawei cannot be trusted, then 5G is the last place we want them involved.

I’m not a fan of executive orders, either, but this is one that makes sense since it’s a dynamic topic that moves much faster than Congress can handle and it’s administrated solely by the executive branch.

The right time

It’s obviously not a coincidence that this executive order was signed just as the trade war with China is ramping up. As our EIC noted, we’re in a time when we must use full measures to win this war. I’m not a fan of tariffs, but if we’re going to use them, let’s make them effective and get rid of them as quickly as possible.

This is just another arrow slung at the Chinese in that trade war. It may be technically separate and it’s hard to imagine this is another bargaining chip, but it will cause further harm to the Chinese economy, making it more likely they’ll come to the table ready to make a deal.

We’ve reached a moment in history where technology can have catastrophic effects on the lives of nearly every American if the wrong actors are allowed to run free in our infrastructure. This is a step towards safeguarding us from the threats.

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