With all the social confusion, with the growing menace of global warming, with all the corruptness in politics, a giant walks among us: Goliath, AKA super large monopolistic corporations.
It isn’t just the communication sector (Big Data) with Google, Meta, Apple, Microsoft and a large number of software companies providing cloud and internet services. It is also the retail sector with super conglomerates like Amazon, Walmart, Costco and Walgreen.
Endless examples abound: show business has Disney, butchering has Tyson and Hormel; news has CBS and NBC.
Anti-trust laws have not been properly enforced for decades. Corporations buy potential competitors when those companies still are small. Marketing companies do the same thing in different retail markets.
There are two things to be concerned about. The first has been obvious for many years: monopolization diminishes competition thereby controlling market prices and availability of alternatives.
The second is a new issue available since the internet was invented: government policy intervention. For example, does anyone know who will set health policy when Amazon owns one of the largest hospital corporations in the US? How about a wanky space engineer owning Twitter – one of the most used communication channels in the country. Who will set regulations? Zuckerberg already has proven that if a corporation is large enough, the government has a hard time getting its arms around it.
One could almost say “Huge monopolies are like city or county governments.” Counterarguments may claim that global supply chains require large monopolies; not true (what happened during the pandemic when too few manufacturers caused failure?) Another counterargument is the international nature of business today; not true (The EU has imposed $million+ fines for not complying with privacy and false information regulations and impeding free trade.)
Whenever the US government can get its act together, two things will make or break the nation: fix taxes and break up monopolies. It can be done. Remember Ma Bell and Standard Oil?