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  • Oct 21st, 2020 @ 7:50pm


    Erm... I'm struggling here. How does monopoly behaviour fit a situation where the supposed monopolist is paying billions to its major competitor in the markets in question?

    This practice is referred to as tying, and it's clearly defined as illegal under section 2 of the Sherman Antitrust act.

  • Oct 21st, 2020 @ 7:46pm

    I am a supporter of using antitrust against big tech

    And I am disappointed in how weak the DOJ's case is.

    However, I'm still immensely pleased that any action at all has been taken, the first legitimate antitrust action in the past 22 years. What's more, although this is clearly a political stunt designed to drum up support for the Trump campaign with two weeks to go until the election, the timing actually seems fortuitous to me, and here's why:

    While the initial filing may be weak on the argumentative side, there's no reason that a DOJ under new leadership appointed by a Biden administration could not amend this filing and use it as a vehicle for real, effective antitrust action (not to mention additional lawsuits against Apple, Facebook, and Amazon supported by the heaps of evidence laid out in the Cicilline antritrust report). The important thing to me seems to be that we have cleared the initial hurdle of filing any sort of case at all. This is something that would have been unthinkable just 4 short years ago during the monopoly-friendly Obama administration, and it genuinely warms my heart to see this conversation get going in earnest.

    What this country needs, in my view, is a new antitrust movement reminiscent of the days of FDR and the new deal. FDR was not an idealistic reformer as he is often portrayed these days. He was an indefatigable pragmatist who appointed both progressive and corporatist democrats to positions in his administration. He saw the need for change in the aftermath of the greatest economic crisis in the history of our nation. Biden seems to me much the same, although admittedly a bit worse for wear, and while the Covid recession may not be equal to the Great Depression in terms of scale or length, it has really just been a capstone to decades of slow rot in our economic system.

    Are there other, clearly more exploitative monopolies that exist, such as Comcast and AT&T? Of course, but we have to start somewhere and the political will to take on big tech exists now. It would be foolish not to seize this opportunity and use it to liberate the American people from their corporate shackles.

    This could mark the turning of the tide against monopoly power in the US. Call me a dreamer, but I've been a pessimist all my life and THIS gives me hope when little else does.

  • Oct 17th, 2020 @ 11:25am


    These are all good questions to be directed at congress, whose job it is to hash out tough and unpleasant questions -- at least that's what they're supposed to do.

    But without a framework for regulation, none of these questions that ought to be posed will be posed and we'll continue down this road of bad legislation being proposed while all of the smart people who know better shoot it down without suggesting any workable alternative.

    Perhaps it is in the best interests of society to let things go on as they have been with the large platforms fumbling around trying to figure out how to do content moderation at scale, as they have been. But perhaps it would make sense to bring government into the process. That's all I suggest.

  • Oct 17th, 2020 @ 11:21am

    Re: Re: Please tell me if I'm being naive

    I don't mean to suggest that it would be easy, far from it. But given the sheer force of political will behind the issue of reforming the law in some way (mostly extremely bad ways), perhaps it's time to start thinking of how this could be done in practice to make all parties involved the least amount of miserable possible?

    I understand this may not be a popular stance in this forum, but sometimes free speech maximalism is forced to contend with unpleasant realities.

  • Aug 24th, 2019 @ 6:02pm

    Re: There are a few ways to mess things up..

    This comment utilizes the same lexical quirk that I've noticed permeates the troll's Twitter feed. Strange capitalization of common nouns and verbs.

    I've thought about this usage and I guess it makes sense when needing to cram more information into the great nuance-eliminator that is Twitter. But when you have no restrictions on use of characters it really just makes you look either paranoid or like you don't understand how to use the English language.

  • Aug 13th, 2019 @ 5:08pm

    (untitled comment)

    Looks like the rent seekers will be seeking their own way to pay rent soon enough!

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