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Warren is Correct about Busting Up Big Tech

Warren is Correct about Busting Up Big Tech

Robert Reich

Presidential hopeful Senator Elizabeth Warren announced Friday she wants to bust up giants like Facebook, Google, and Amazon.

America’s first Gilded Age began in the late nineteenth century with a raft of innovations – railroads, steel production, oil extraction – but culminated in mammoth trusts run by “robber barons” like JP Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, and William H.(“the public be damned”) Vanderbilt.

The answer then was to bust up the railroad, oil, and steel monopolies.

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Hi Robert Reich… I liked what you were saying and it made sense —until you got to the "Russian Hacking…: Hmmmm, I have read smaller press comments where this was a small number of groups that used the stupidity of facebook to try to reach more people----but do you really buy into the Russian hackings and causing Hillary’s loss? I am getting annoyed when this is brought up as it seems like useless information. so I would like to ask you—if Russia did all that hacking, why didn’t any of our spy agencies seem to notice? : ) Sorry but reading the Russian comment was annoying to me, and usually you don’t annoy me at all.: )

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Good idea to break up big tech for all of the reasons stated, plus a few more reasons as well.

Please add banks, insurance, Pharma, Healthcare, Defense Contractors, and other too-big corporations to the list as well.

Several agriculture corporations need to be broken up as well.

Example: Monsanto/Bayer.

Together they sell as much as 70% of America’s food seed. Most of their seed is GMO. They also sell the weed killer RoundUp. GMO seeds were made to tolerate RoundUp.

America’s food seed security is in their hands. They supply a high percentage of food seed and if they cannot supply enough seed in a given year, who could provide the additional seed? Probably no one?

GMO seeds produce plants that do not produce viable seeds. If Monsanto/Bayer could not supply enough seeds, then last years harvested seeds will not be able to supply this years planting.

A food seed market that has more vendors with smaller market shares provides market competition, competitive pricing, and a safer food seed supply.

Also, more heirloom non-GMO seeds would enable last years harvest to be next years seeds.

Please add Big Agriculture to the Big Tech list.

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Thank you for your well timed contribution, OpenE! You are exactly correct!

Welcome to the discussion!

Surely Warren and Reich are correct about the larger point here: we need these tech communication monsters split up.

However, Reich’s complaint with Facebook highlights why reason exists to fear government’s power even to regulate these abusers. Facebook has made an abuse of censoring its users and of selling their data. Yet Reich would instead criticize them for failing to kowtow quickly enough by providing fairly irrelevant details to a bogus “investigation” widely used to excuse the persecution of journalism.

Bezosfollows patterns of abuse created by capitalists before him and encouraged by the nature of that system. Were he not willing to do that, most likely someone else would. So we do need Amazon and similar operations broken up. But this is not to be done by threatening and forcing communications companies to aid and abet the NSA and others in logging individual or even corporate communications, nor any special subset thereof.

Let us be clear. Even were “Russian bots on Facebook” a significant factor in the 2016 presidential elections–rather than, say, Wikileaks’ release of cascades of DNC documents revealing very considerable wrongdoing–we would not want Facebook, Amazon, Google, and so forth working with dark government to ferret out individuals for selective action. As we speak, ilicit and illegal paragovernmental action goes right up to drone strikes based on cell phone GPS taking out families. These are only what the government, starting in the Obama administration, has admitted to, with scarcely a nod to the matter of Constitutional protections to say that one or another lawyer has been paid to announce that these do not count.

No. We need the big companies broken up to reduce their power and their earnings. But we also need them broken up to enhance the possibility of their resistance in many ways to the government. Government should not be able to simply demand from them information without warrant, let alone demand that they police and screen their client populations for information that the government might want before it is asked for.

Large corporations, in their usual form, are antidemocratic, near totalitarian entities ruled by ownership. They are further deranged by laws and codes reducing values as these might be taken by sentient beings to profit as that might be considered in an Econ 101 class by people who might otherwise know better.

But the idea that government may usefully control them has a lot to do with the assumption that said government is, even in one or another partial way, representative of its citizenry. As the major parties wrest control of the electoral process from the general population, they eliminate the possibility to engage in constructive regulation.

It is not only the large acknowledged corporate entities that have to be broken up, but government itself, though this could at least theoretically mean not revolution, but a reinstatement of Constitutional balance of power. But that also means that the entities engaged in largely unacknowledged activities at the behest of unadvertised bonds and alliances have to be broken up–and the parts “scattered to a thousand winds” as John Kennedy was apparently at once too powerful and too little powerful to announce.

All privately held corporate monopolies should be broken up. Tech, Amazon, Big Ag, all of them