The reason you’re looking at this right now on a high speed network that doesn’t cost so much that only rich people could afford it can be traced to the breakup by the federal government of AT&T way back in the Stone Age of the 1980s.
I think it’s time for some more break ups, and this is why Elizabeth Warren has my attention.
I was “there” in the 1980s when AT&T was broken apart. Thanks to that action, I spent a large part of my early career working for new competitors who never could have come into being without the forced breakup of AT&T’s monopoly.
In Warren, I see someone with the courage to go after rich and powerful corporations. I applaud her for that, and for making this a visible plank in her campaign.
There is a fundamental truism about monopolies that everyone should understand and that everyone should talk about when it comes to conversations about the balance between capitalism and so-called free markets, and the role of oversight and regulation government is supposed to play. That truism is this.
Monopolies are terrible for everyone except for the people who own them and run them.
Monopolies have zero incentive to innovate. Why would they invest any profits into innovation when the market has no alternative but to use their goods and services?
Monopolies have zero incentive to offer their goods and services at competitive prices. Same rhetorical question as before tells you why this is true.
Monopolies have zero incentive to be good corporate citizens. Do I need to say it again?
By definition, monopolies mean you have no choice but to use whatever they offer at whatever price they choose, and in whatever manner in which they choose to operate.
Ok. Fine. You can choose not to participate at all in the market they rule, but understand this reality, too. A monopoly cannot arise unless they offer something people want or need; otherwise, no one would be in that market.
And, yes, I suppose you can choose to chuck it all and move to Alaska or Belize or some off-the-grid locale. May not be a bad idea. Hell, maybe you can even sell the rights to your own “reality” show to those empty-headed nitwits at The Discovery Channel. Watch out, Swamp Loggers.
Seriously, I hope people will think about what’s been happening when it comes to corporate power and influence, especially during conversations with people who complain about, scoff at, or mock Elizabeth Warren and people like her who are now calling for this era’s tech giants – and big banks – to be broken up.
That’s advice for my fellow tech business people, too. Put greed and every last nickle of profit as the goal aside, and think long-term and for the greater good on this.
As for politicians, Democratic Party apparatchiks, and industry groups, we can expect to hear from the likes of Rob Atkinson, the president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, and Ed Black, president of Computer and Communications Industry Association, whine and wail and gnash their teeth over Warren’s plan. They’re shills for big money; it just happens to be Big Tech Money, and not Big Oil Money or Big Bank Money. It’s still Big Money
There are no shortage of articles on Warren and this topic. Here’s one from the Washington Post in which the aforementioned group leaders are quoted.
Certain liberals and progressives nowadays have no shortage of litmus tests they seem to relish in applying to every candidate.
It will be interesting to see how they test for the idea of breaking up with Silicon Valley and their money.