The U.S. Internet Isn’t a Free Market or Competitive It’s Industrial Policy


In 16 minutes I overview for you why there is a woefully incomplete understanding of the U.S. Internet’s three “Standard Oil-like” monopolizations (Google, Amazon, and Facebook) and the four cartelization dynamics these three monopolies have collectively spawned. I also spotlight why there is virtually no understanding of the root cause of these artificial and anticompetitive outcomes. Please see this link to a video (2:30-19:05) courtesy of The Capitol Forum and CQ’s Fourth Annual Tech, Media, and Telecom Competition Conference on December 13, 2017.

My remarks at this conference summarize and expand on my White paper entitled: “America’s Antitrust Enforcement Credibility Crisis: America’s three enduring intermedia monopolies and four market cartelizations are a result of lax, asymmetric antitrust law enforcement & America’s anticompetitive Internet-first industrial policy.”

I explain that America has not had out-of-control monopolizations and cartelizations like this since the 1880s and that these Internet intermediary platforms – Google for information, Amazon for commerce and Facebook for social sharing – are not free markets or competitive platforms, but more accurately economic bottlenecks, central planners, and algorithmic allocators.

For about a half of the U.S. economy the “invisible hand” of the free market, has been supplanted effectively -- via government Internet-first industrial policy -- to the non-transparent, unaccountable, and anticompetitive “algorithmic hands” of Google, Amazon, and Facebook.

Simply, the normal process of competition has transmogrified into serial processes of monopolization and cartelization, because the process of competition now must go through wholly-intermediated, hyper-centralized, unregulated, non-transparent, unaccountable, online intermediary platforms that are heavily-incented to cartelize and monopolize their bottleneck power -- as simultaneous gatekeepers for online consumer demand and toll-keepers for offline supply. [Please don’t miss the chart on this on page 9 of the white paper to understand “The Intermedia Cartel’s Bottlenecked Economy.”]

Bottom-line: America’s Internet-first industrial policy over the last two decades succeeded in creating  the best Internet infrastructure and ecosystem in the world, but now that that goal has been largely accomplished, its continuance is a profoundly anti-competitive, government winner-take-all policy that perversely always puts the interests of tech-first, consumers-last.

For those interested in free markets and the ensuring the accountability of the healthy process of competition, the public evidence shows that the free and open Internet that was promised by Internet intermediaries has proven in fact to not be free market, competitive, or open/transparent.

We all have been badly fooled that technological efficiency and market efficiency are the same, when they are not the same in the context of a powerful government industrial policy that systemically elevates the interests of Internet technologies and Internet companies above consumers, competition, and a free market economy.