How Punishing Big Tech Harms AmericaThe National Interest
Last week, the Department of Justice (DOJ) sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee expressing its support for legislation that would ban large tech platforms (primarily Amazon, Apple, Google, and Meta) from a range of “discriminatory” behaviors such as self-preferencing their own products. The letter argues that the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICOA) is necessary to preserve US global competitiveness and prevent Big Tech from using its market power to threaten “the economic liberty that undergirds our democracy.” But in the bipartisan rush to punish Big Tech, neither the DOJ nor policymakers seem to have considered how antitrust reform efforts would harm America’s global tech leadership when it is needed more than ever.
To be fair, there are legitimate reasons behind some of the growing ire against Big Tech; from privacy scandals to anxiety about their opaque governance. Unfortunately, the fervor to extract a pound of flesh from Big Tech for its perceived misdeeds has led many to abandon their traditional deference to liberal institutions — such as markets and the courts — to address harms. Instead, many policymakers have bought into a package of radical proposals, including AICOA, that aims to punish specific companies in a particularly un-American way.
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