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Elizabeth Warren: Break up Big Tech

Discussion in 'Asset Protection/Taxes/Legal' started by MJ DeMarco, Mar 12, 2019.

  1. splok
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    splok Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass Summit Attendee

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    From the top two hits on Google (irony intended):
    Of course, they are dominant because they provide massive value, so no complaints about that. However, that dominance gives them huge leverage, literally over the world's perception of reality. I think that should give anyone pause, even if you think you and Google have aligned interests.
     
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  2. Kak
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    So government control of our perceptions is the rational alternative? They already have schools, healthcare, and the media. Look how well that has worked out.

    "Introducing search.gov! From the same people who brought you healthcare.gov. We get the propaganda right so you dont have to read alternative viewpoints assembled by an evil business. Remember, we know what's best for you."

    I'll take Google for my search needs please and thank you. I know the motivation of private industry. The motivation of power hungry politicians? That is an ever changing question mark.

    Realistically... These companies should just move HQs to a more politically reasonable country and call it a day. There are countries that would and should feel privileged to have them and welcome them with open arms.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
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  3. The Abundant Man
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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    upload_2019-3-13_0-21-48.jpeg

    upload_2019-3-13_0-22-0.jpeg
     
  4. ApparentHorizon
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    Her argument is...(paraphrasing)

    Competition suffers b/c of these tech giants. They eat up all of the data, by buying up all of the small players. You shouldn't be allowed to own both a platform and a business that competes on that platform.

    Except there are more people with their own businesses now than ever. These platforms allowed the whole entrepreneurship craze to flourish. Many people, including myself, have Google, FB, LinkedIn, YouTube etc, to thank for their success.

    upload_2019-3-13_0-56-7.png
    upload_2019-3-13_0-56-21.png


    HOWEVER...her rhetoric aside...

    Where do we draw the line between private companies, and conglomerates so large they influence democracies by selectively propagating their own ideologies?

    I remember a time when you could search a topic, and you'd get 10 completely different ideas. Some contrasting, some reinforcing your biases. Others from across the globe.

    Then in Jan 2012, Google forever changed the internet. With other platforms following suit.

    "Search plus your world" as it is called. Catering to what you care about. What your immediate friends, family and local community think.

    Creating what we now call echo chambers.

    Within these echo chambers live the people who moderate the platforms. Pushing their own ideas onto the rest of the population.

    Have you ever searched for a topic and the top 5 results were similar? Some even identical?

    Or the YouTube search, populating the results with 99% mainstream news outlets? Search for Elizabeth Warren.

    While it's nice to think that all companies are predictably rational. Focusing on increasing that bottom line. There are others on the inside, with secondary motives and agendas.
     
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  5. rogue synthetic
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    I'd like to think there's a middle ground somewhere between orthodox Stalinism and Galt's Gulch fan-fiction. But there's a big problem here that hasn't even stepped on stage yet.

    Big Tech does provide immense value through efficiencies of scale and network effects. I don't think anybody argues against that.

    There's ugly downside that can't be addressed as long as we're speaking as if the only choices are letting the circus in DC manage all our communications* or leaving it up to the marketplace which has every incentive to create (some might say pervert) the desires that fuel it.

    Heroin pushers also provide immense value to addicts. There's something to be said for considering the quality of the desires that are fulfilled, and how convenience itself has second-order effects. (Does anyone ever consider what the ability to manufacture emotional states and desires at scale does to the models of economic rationality? You should think about this.)

    This isn't to say there's an easy solution. No, the problem here is that this is a damn hard problem because it doesn't have any easy historical parallels.

    Even in this thread much of the arguments are (and will continue to be) phrased in language that would have been right at home between 1950 and 1980 in the Cold War debates about capitalism and socialism.

    That's not enough anymore.

    These are different beasts because of the scale involved. Not just size. Sure, they're big companies...which are worming their way into every part of your life.

    Public spaces under surveillance, every thought you outrage about put in front of your lying eyes by the tablet in your hand, an Alexa telescreen in every home listening to every word.

    We don't even have the vocabulary to ask the right questions yet. Policy decisions about how to tackle it will be even more fanciful than the usual fantasies we call politics.

    * They're already doing that, in case anyone was under the impression that Facebook, Google and company don't already have deep ties to the State.
     
  6. SamRussell
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    I think any move against Facebook (or any other "big tech") would be very dangerous.

    The reason given for breaking up the big tech companies is that they are "too big".

    What Warren really means, is that they are too successfull.

    These companies have provided value, they have grown. They provided more value, and continued to grow.

    Their only crime is being really good at what they do.

    At what point should the government move in on what you do, and break apart your business, because you became too good...?

    Should we break up Bon Jovi because they're songs are too popular...?

    These arguments make no sense in any other field...

    There are two arguments in this thread trying to justify the breakup:
    1. Facebook has a monopoly
    2. Facebook has the ability to control peoples perception of reality, which is dangerous, therefore should be broken up

    Facebook has a Monopoly
    I assume this argument comes from a point of "monopolies are bad and detrimental to competition". I'd argue that in a free market, monopolies are not a problem. The only time a monopoly is detrimental, is when artificial barriers to market come into play. For example... lets say the government broke up a "monopoly", then issued legislation and created licences to "protect" the public from this happening again.

    What has happened? The government now directly controls anyone's ability to compete.

    Let's say Facebook was abusing the market. Maybe they have pumped prices because they can? When you price gouge, you create an incentive for competition. Facebook was started in someones basement. If they price gouged.. the incentive to create an alternative, with lower prices... and still make a killing, becomes huge.

    The only way a monopoly can exist in a free market, is by either offering more value or lower prices, than anyone else can. And what's the problem with that?

    The only way an abusive monopoly can exist, is with the help of the government protecting their market share.


    Facebook can control peoples perception of reality
    Sure... they can control what sort of posts you see in your news feed... what sort of adverts you see...

    You can also choose not to use Facebook, or not to take news from it...

    Facebook cannot censor anything, censoring is an act only possible by the government. When Facebook exercises their right to decide who sees what... it is using Freedom of speech.

    You can say what you want. Why shouldn't Facebook have the same option?

    Facebook can influence a lot of people, sure. But so what? So can newspapers. News networks. So can you.

    People can also leave Facebook.


    What to do?

    I think advocating the government break them up, is to strike another blow against freedom, and I think what little freedom we can enjoy would only disappear faster were the government to act on this.

    Personally I think Facebook is biassed, and is pushing an agenda... and I don't like it.
     
  7. NovaAria
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    For all we know, one day Facebook, Google, Twitter and Amazon will think that having people learn about internet entrepreneurship is too dangerous for them and will redirect their searches towards the nearest addiction provider. They are a private company and it's in their rights.
    I pity the Indian (and soon sub-Saharan Africans) next generations, whose internet access will be generously provided by facebook and other private interests. These kids will hopefully be good products our marketers are willing to pay for.
     
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  8. splok
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    Not sure who's arguing for that, but it isn't me (my first post in the thread was arguing against a breakup). But since you bring it up, do you think having a handful of companies control practically everything that's consumed will make this more or less likely?

    I don't think it's unreasonable to require some level of free-speech protection for a company to enjoy safe-harbor protections though. (I'm not an expert on it, but I'm pretty sure that was the intent of the existing law as written, though it's been unenforced and easy to work around afaik.) If Google wants to "organize the world's information", then that's great, but once they start curating that content to push their own agenda, they, at the very least, should be responsible for the content they present.
     
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  9. G-Man
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    Agreed. That country is called Texas.
     
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  10. Xeon
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    Please don't break up FB.
    I read that FB is planning to consolidate WhatsApp, IG and FB into one seamless platform recently, which means it will make it easier to run ads to target consumers since everything will be less fragmented.

    FB ads are like a godsend tool to reach consumers.

    Please do everything in your power to break up Amazon. Nowadays e-commerce = Amazon, and I dislike that.
     
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    So there's no principle here
     
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    After reading about the Alamo, I can see why! :)

    Let me guess on the candidates? Europe? China?

    Same thing happened to my country. GrabCar, one of Uber's top competitors, was actually founded by one of my countrymen, the son of the Honda distributor here. Things got slow for the new-fledged startup in Malaysia, as it was a tech-based company. We don't have rapidly executed policies here. So they went to set HQ in Singapore, and got what they needed to eventually run Uber out of the region.
     
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  13. MJ DeMarco
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    I don't want anything handed to her. It conflicts my soul that she voiced something I'd actually agree with it, outside of the government executing it because everything the government touches turns to shit.

    I guess given a choice I'd rather have more power concentrated in corporate interests than government. Either way, I don't think anyone wins.

    What gives any politician the right? Lady Liberty has been raped for nearly a century...

    Not suggesting the government "take control" or do anything but to mandate a separation of powers, like a knife. Once the knife is removed, so does the government's involvement.

    I don't want the government in charge of anything.

    My opinion on this topic only changed recently after seeing the high-level collusion on what these seemingly autonomous companies did to Alex Jones. Why? Because most of the shit he says is tabloid and anti-establishment? He's the National Enquirer of the internet -- most of the shit he says is wrong but once in a blue moon he hits something, the old broken clock is right twice a day. (No, I don't follow AJ other than to research what happened a while back)

    While I'm a free-market person, at some point the free market won't work because the battles won't be winnable because the aggressor has become too big and too dominant.

    When you have an army of tanks and machine guns while your "free market" opponents are using sticks and stones, the free market won't matter. The technocrats will smash any foe, or eat up any free market alternative. Or when you question the technocrats, you are exiled and banished from the plantation, as done with AJ.

    So now I feel its a choice between cutting off my thumb or cutting of my big toe.
     
  14. Ninjakid
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    True. They might just be the biggest fish in the pond.
     
  15. Kak
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    Kak Capitalist Swine Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    I definitely see your point here and agree that is how it should be done, if it is done. However, we have a pretty good track record of the government never making things this simple.

    To clarify my "take control" comments... Please know they were not directed at you. I can absolutely agree to disagree to a well thought out argument and you have made exceptional points.

    My point was that they essentially do take control in order to divide it up. Do you think they will give ALL the control back? I don't, but that is purely my speculation and my distrust of government talking.

    They will form "the bureau of economic trust management" or some such nonsense and employ 2000 people just to insert themselves in the daily lives of companies. It will be a transition that probably lasts decades. Decades where sentiment after being fed up with how terrible the companies perform under these hostile circumstances could flip towards takeover.

    Look at Obamacare, probably the best example of this half measure... They couldn't get full control back in 09, but they could make it bad enough where people are all but begging for single payer now.

    I still believe the market can take care of these concerns better than intervention of any kind.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
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  16. MJ DeMarco
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    Didn't GM and AIG return to autonomy after government meddling? If so, there is some history with government involvement, then a step back.
     
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  17. Kak
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    Fair point. I didn't think of them. I think it is definitely worth some research.
     
  18. Maxboost
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    This is why I don't consider myself a libertarian anymore. It's not based on common sense and reality. Libertarians are very similar to socialist (not talking about you) but are too ideological which can have disastrous results when this ideology is taken to the extreme. To have no government regulations is absolutely crazy.

    I say this as free market capitalist and a believer in Adam Smith's "invisible" hand theory.

    Government regulation is ONLY to be used when there is a gross abuse of power and MARKET FAILURE which already occurred with Big Tech firms like Google, Youtube, Facebook, twitter and media in general.

    I don't follow Eddie Bravo and I believe he is crazy but he explained the Rockerfellers and the first time the government used ANTI trust laws against a giant monopoly.


    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5QhH6LgYpM

    Also Tim Poole exposed how these social media companies are at odds with the US constitution


    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=we2ouS_JF7U


    After watching this clip, do you honestly believe that the "free market" would have corrected itself? Would you be comfortable with 1 person controlling the energy of the entire United States or Social Media enfluencing elections?
     
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  19. Bradley R
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    Lots of valid points here.

    I usually tend to side with the view that's against more government intervention.

    I think in this case, the idea of breaking up the tech giants who have so much influence has some merit (in theory), but I just can't see the government pulling it off in an effective way

    I think this is more of a move to get votes from anti-big-business voters than to actually give a better chance for smaller businesses to succeed.

    Let's say some of these big tech business did get broken up or some part of their business changed - they will still have the power to buy up smaller competitors and, like someone mentioned earlier, they are all global brands at this point so how much good does the government getting into the middle of it really do?

    I think there's a higher likelihood of the market correcting itself. It's easy to look at those companies and say it's impossible for the competition, but there's still plenty of great tech-based companies on the rise.

    The tech sector also evolves and changes extremely fast - the chances that there will be no other big players to rise up in the next 2-5 years because these other behemoths "automatically crush the competition" seems unlikely to me

    Also, how do you decide what companies get broken up or regulated? What's the criteria? It's almost impossible to think of a fair way to do it

    As for censoring information, I do believe that to be a problem, but it's not just a problem that Google and Apple and Facebook have. News companies for decades now have been biased in what news they report or don't. We all know that MSNBC swings liberal and Fox News swings conservative. That's something that I believe is almost a separate, "bigger" issue that simply breaking up tech giants isn't going to effectively solve
     
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  20. Kak
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    @Maxboost your post is so full of straw I am going against my better judgement giving it the time of day.

    So you are the authority on what common sense and reality are?

    Similar to socialist... Wow! Interesting! I never once said there should be no government regulations. I said I believe the market will deal with our concerns better than intervening with big tech.

    Think about this as an example... You have Joes Shoe Shop, and Joe is an outspoken racist. Uses it in his marketing... Whatever... Without need for intervention, he is going to lose customers because he is an a**hole. Almost every grievance in this thread about these companies can be compared to racist Joe. If enough people get pissed off... Alternatives will become viable.

    What exactly has "FAILED"? All transactions with all of these companies are still voluntary. People still choose them over competitors freely and happily. What would happen if Bezos doubled the price of every amazon item? A monopoly could do that. Bezos can't. Amazon would die in short order.

    Bottom line we still have a choice. There are no monopolies here.

    I also think elasticity of demand matters too. How important is it that people have a facebook? It is optional entertainment not even close to being comparable to energy. Twitter and Facebook are competitors.

    I actually do believe the market would have corrected itself. Rockefeller was only acting in the best interest of his shareholders... He was a good businessman that eventually did in fact have competition. They were small, but gave him hell. The government still broke it up and he controlled all of the smaller firms anyway. The entire situation was largely considered a government failure. Mostly by the folks that wanted to further punish his success. They traded a monopoly for a cartel. Reducing his control any further than that would have been downright theft.

    Despite his control of the smaller firms... Look at the country today. The market was actually what took care of business on the domestic distribution side of things.

    We do have the majority of oil production under control of a cartel today, and you are evidently OK with it, and it isn't Rockefeller's. It is a government established cartel... But we all know government are more benevolent then the rest of us. Government is allowed a monopoly in every country on earth. I will cheer the day when countries HAVE to leave OPEC in order to compete... and that day is not far off. Thus the GLOBAL MARKET STILL PREVAILS.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
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  21. NovaAria
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    I like your optimism, but something must still be done. The market isn't a magical divine entity that seeks perfect balance. Any time something new that had the potential to grow showed up, the major companies simply bought it out. Either to integrate it, or to strangle it.
    That and, while we're waiting for a major correction to happen, an entire generation is growing up with facebook, youtube and twitter as their sole connections to the rest of society.

    This also reminds me of what's happening in china. If you want to release a game in china, the game must still follow common laws and regulations. A racing game must still display speed limits and the cars in it must never go beyond them. Why? Because the younger generations discover the outside world through games and electronic entertainment, and so they must be educated through it. These words are from the ministry of culture.
     
  22. Kak
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    Actually it does. Have you ever taken an economics class?
     
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    Ok, I’m going to ask a dumb question here folks.

    Can anybody explain exactly what the net negative is of these companies and their size?

    All I’ve ever heard regarding Amazon is “the poor mom and pop stores” which ignores all the opportunity (and 250,000 jobs) they have created.

    Facebook with the data selling? Um...stop using Facebook! Unless you advertise on it, then stop complaining.

    Facebook with censorship? Sadly true, but I’ll take it over what would happen if our government controlled speech and thought. I get chills thinking about it.

    Google...basically same line of thinking as Facebook.

    I’ve made my position known, I’m just curious what people’s opinion is of the net benefits to breaking these companies up.

    Funny I’ve been listening to Unscripted again and one the sentences by @MJ DeMarco I heard today seems to apply to what Warren is doing:
    “Feeding us a bullshit story by a bunch of bullshitters whose only goal is to keep us knee deep in bullshit”
     
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  24. biophase
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    I don't think she is talking about breaking up Google as a search engine and Facebook as a social media platform.

    Nobody has to use Google to search, they can choose to use yahoo. Heck, to use google if you use IE or Firefox or Safari, you literally have to go in and change your default search engine to them to start using them. How is that a monopoly if the user has to choose them over 4 other search engines to get to them?

    Regarding Facebook, a social media platform won't work if it's broken up. If half of your friends are on FB and the other half on Myspace, how does that work? Eventually everybody will either be on both or choose one.

    She is talking about Google search combined with Google Ads, or Facebook combined with IG, not the core businesses themselves grabbing the market share alone.

    BTW, you want to know what a real monopoly is? Having only ONE cable internet provider like Cox in your area. If you don't like Cox, you can get DSL, but DSL is much slower. So it's not like you have an alternative to get the SAME level of service.
     
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  25. lowtek
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    Those of you calling for breaking up big tech need to ask yourselves a few fundamental questions:

    1) How did these firms become so large and dominant in the first place? Was it through a superior product, or was it through regulatory capture?

    2) Are the mechanisms that enabled these large firms to dominate the market going to go away when we split them up?

    3) Are the "smaller" firms not going to attempt to do the same thing as the parent firm did, only this time from multiple angles and increased velocity due to reduced bureaucratic overhead?

    The answers to these questions are obvious, to me. These firms exist at this scale due to big daddy government creating moats around them. They will exploit the very same mechanisms that gave rise to their dominant position as smaller firms, and they will do so with much more disastrous consequences.

    If you don't believe me, spend a little bit educating yourselves on how the break up of the telecoms in the 20th century went. Spoiler alert, it ended up with the States having one of the worst internet infrastructures in the developed world, coupled with an oligopoly of abusive telecom firms.
     
    Roz, Longinus, SMH and 5 others like this.

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