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How Enforcing Competition Law Could Have Stopped Big Tech

New York Magazine – The Intelligencer: “Yesterday, Amazon announced that it was opening two new campuses in Crystal City, Virginia, and Queens, New York. The preceding audition process, with dozens of local and state governments offering ridiculous financial incentives to Jeff Bezos’s megalith, made Amazon’s power over the public sector plainly clear. Elsewhere, the parliaments of five separate countries are banding together in an attempt to force a meeting with Mark Zuckerberg, the head of Facebook, the world’s largest social network — which it became without a peep from regulators.

What happened to the antitrust movement? In his new book, The Curse of Bigness (out this week from Columbia Global Reports), Tim Wu examines the history of monopolies in America and asks why we’ve stopped fighting them. A century ago, trustbusters like Theodore Roosevelt took on Standard Oil and U.S. Steel, setting a precedent that would last up until the 1990s, when the government took on Microsoft. But that was 20 years ago. Since then, there have been no big antitrust cases and private power has only grown.

Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School, has been a crusader for fairness in the electronic era for decades; he coined the term “net neutrality” back in 2003, later advised the Federal Trade Commission and served on President Obama’s economic council, and last year ran for lieutenant governor alongside Zephyr Teachout. He spoke with Intelligencer about Zuckerberg’s bot-like apology tour, the case for breaking up Amazon, and his hope that the midterm elections — and even anti-corporate Trump fans — might lead to the restoration of federally-enforced competition…”

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