It is time to use antitrust again. We should break up the hi-tech behemoths, or at least require they make their proprietary technology and data publicly available and share their platforms with smaller competitors.
There would be little cost to the economy, since these giant firms rely on innovation rather than economies of scale – and, as noted, they’re likely to be impeding innovation overall.
But is this politically feasible? Unlike the Teddy Roosevelt Republicans, Trump and his enablers in Congress have shown little appetite for antitrust enforcement.
Republicans rhapsodize about the “free market” but have no qualms about allowing big corporations to rig it at the expense of average people. Yet as the late Robert Pitofsky, former chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, once noted: “Antitrust is a deregulatory philosophy. If you’re going to let the free market work, you’d better protect the free market.”