And these new tech monsters have a one-two punch that Standard Oil lacked: Not only do they control immense wealth and important industries, but their fields of operation — which give them enormous control over communications, including communications about politics — also give them direct political power that in many ways exceeds that of previous monopolies.
As Wu writes: “Big tech is ubiquitous, seems to know too much about us, and seems to have too much power over what we see, hear, do, and even feel. It has reignited debates over who really rules, when the decisions of just a few people have great influence over everyone.”
Facing a similar situation, Roosevelt declared, “When aggregated wealth demands what is unfair, its immense power can be met only by the still greater power of the people as a whole.”
With today’s economy dominated by the FANG companies, will Donald Trump — another brash New Yorker who found himself in the White House — follow TR’s lead? Perhaps a better question is, why wouldn’t he?