Antitrust 101 with Ryan Young
At this point it’s fairly clear that “Big Tech” companies like Google, Apple and Twitter are in the tank for the Democrats. However, you can easily stay informed by diversifying your news sources and listening to shows like this one.
There’s no great threat to competition in the market for news and information – to the contrary, the internet has given us more options than we could have dreamed of.
Trump meanwhile is threatening to regulate his political enemies in tech like public utilities. Whether he realizes it or not, this puts him in league with some of the leading figures of the Progressive Era – like Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis. Brandeis set the precedent that led to a “Big-is-Bad” mentality of antitrust enforcement, which persisted well into the 20th century, and is now rearing its ugly head once again.
Ryan Young, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, is at the frontlines of the antitrust issue. He’s noted the worrisome confluence (dare I say collusion?) between Democrats like Elizabeth Warren and Republicans like Trump when it comes to the issue of regulating free markets in the name of “competition.”
He observes that this Orwellian notion tends to find support during periods of rising populism – such as today – despite the FTC’s abysmal track record of policing anti-competitive practices for the so-called “public interest.” Instead, the Department of Justice’s anti-trust division and the FTC have colluded with one another to maximize their own budgets while stifling innovation and creating an entire cottage industry in Washington D.C. for Microsoft lobbyists.
Young has a new, must-read series of blog posts explaining the flaws of antitrust regulation, as well as a paper titled “The Case Against Antitrust” [view Full Document as PDF]. We’ll break the topic down to basics this Sunday on the show of ideas, including the paradox of antitrust – namely that no monopoly can survive for long without favorable treatment from the government (often in the form of previous antitrust provisions).