Alejandro A. Tagliavini *
Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Apple and Facebook – which together are worth more than US $ 5 trillion – today have an exaggerated propaganda power and have removed from their networks news that they consider “inappropriate”. A cartel has been formed that must end because it is unacceptable for the world to depend – and panic – on the propaganda it spreads.
From LifeSite they assure that “Google / Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Apple and their friends from Big Tech want to control what you see, read, think … they spend millions of dollars lobbying… (and) now blatantly censor any content that they do not want you to see”. A Pew poll found that 72% of Americans believe Big Tech companies have too much influence. While Trump asked, via Twitter, Congress to regulate technology or – he said – he will do it through “executive orders”.
Now, what many do not understand, and it is not convenient for politicians to understand, is that the problems of freedom are solved with more freedom, and they get worse with less.
It turns out that monopolies – and cartels – are never natural. There is no business sector, in any geographical site, that does not have direct, indirect or substitute competition, depending on the case if the State does not coercively prevent it. Although it is difficult to imagine, there is no technical reason why there could not be two parallel superhighways, nor two gas networks, as a matter of fact there are even companies that have proposed the construction of parallel underground rail networks.
Injustice arises when the State imposes an “exclusivity” for a given company, preventing the natural, spontaneous development of the market. And that is the patent laws. As if the ideas had an owner, the first to go to the bureaucratic office, gets the monopoly on that idea.
Years ago, the Facebook spokesperson said: “It is a common practice to register patents to protect from the aggressions of other companies … it is merely speculative”. Clearly, with their enormous lobbying capacity they patent everything they can and thus block other small companies to develop these ideas.
Proponents of patents turn reality and use the fallacious argument that no one would invest in technology if their ideas were not “protected”. And Android itself, which is a mobile operating system developed by Google based on Linux Kernel and other open source software, does not require payment for its use and, precisely because it is free, it has been developed far exceeding all the competition.
The “emperors” of Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Apple and Facebook appeared before Congress, virtually, and although they were “harshly” questioned, the only thing that politicians are concerned about is taking away their power, in fact, they accused them that “their ability to dictate terms, make decisions … and inspire fear represent the powers of a private government”. Although they are right in that their enormous power drowns out competing small businesses. And no one believes they will be regulated, Congress only call them to try to tame them.
And those who think, like LifeSite, that the Big Tech have to be coercively divided by the Government are wrong, because as long as there are patent laws, dividing them will be only theoretical because they will find a way to be together and look separate.
* Senior Advisor at The Cedar Portfolio and Member of the Advisory Council of the Center on Global Prosperity, de Oakland, California