Corporate Giants Have Too Much Power
By Todd Strandberg
There has never been a time when so few companies controlled such a large portion of the US economy. Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft have a market capitalization of nearly $4 trillion. Apple is set to become the first company in history to reach the $1 trillion milestone.
As these firms get bigger and bigger, they are rewarded with a huge valuation for monopolizing various markets. Google drives 89% of internet search; 95% of young adults on the internet use a Facebook product; and Amazon now accounts for 75% of electronic book sales. Those firms that aren’t monopolists are duopolists: Google and Facebook absorbed 63% of online ad spending last year; Google and Apple Inc. provide 99% of mobile phone operating systems; while Apple and Microsoft supply 95% of desktop operating systems.
I remember early interviews with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. He was always laughing and telling reporters how his company was going to revolutionize the shopping experience. Today, Bezos has become the world’s richest man, and his company has expanded into dozens of retail categories. Amazon makes very little money because its main goal is to grab market share from other smaller companies. Amazon has 75 massive fulfillment centers around the country, which makes it nearly impossible for a new company to enter the field.
In the early stage of a monopoly, the consumer generally wins with cheaper prices for products. Back in the early 1900’s, Standard Oil controlled 87% of the oil market. Over a 30-year period, the price of oil used in lamps dropped in half. When the federal government sued to break up Standard Oil, the Supreme Court acknowledged the benefits generated by the company. The forced split of Standard Oil was ordered because of clear evidence of a single-minded determination to drive others out of the market.
A research paper by Mike Scherer, a retired Harvard economist, found that Standard Oil was a prolific generator of patents in its early years, but that slowed once it achieved dominance. Around 1909 Standard’s Indiana unit invented “thermal cracking” to improve gasoline refining to meet demand from automobiles, but the company’s head office thought the technology too dangerous because it involved heating heavier oils into a vapor. After the Indiana unit was spun off in the 1911 breakup, it commercialized the technology to enormous success.
In the 1990’s, the Department of Justice filed antitrust charges against Microsoft. One way that Windows got loaded onto most of the world’s computers is that Bill Gates made arm-twisting deals with computer makers. He had contracts that required companies to pay Microsoft based on every computer they built. In special cases where a firm used a different operating system, they would still have to pay for a Windows license. It was because of a fat and happy attitude that caused Microsoft to lose its way in the internet search and smartphone market.
I think the greatest danger from these oversized companies is the politics they promote. Every one of these firms is run by people who support the Democratic Party. They use their power to promote the leftist cause. Twitter has 100% monopoly in the tweet market. For years, it’s been accused of having an institutional bias against conservatives. Twitter would shadow-ban accounts by blocking the public from seeing posts. Scott Adams, creator of “Dilbert,” said Twitter was restricting his traffic over his outspoken Trump support.
I sometimes go to President Trump’s twitter page and noticed that Twitter’s “Who to Follow” recommendations at the top of the third column is always showing Hillary Clinton, CNN, and Barack Obama. On Hillary Clinton’s twitter page, the top recommendations are Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, and Chelsea Clinton. The President’s name is nowhere to be found.
I spoke with several congressional aides about this bias against people on the right, and they always say we can’t do anything because they are a private company. If Twitter and Facebook said we will only have White people as members, a dozen federal agencies would be on their case. The same rules that protect racial and sexual groups from discrimination need to be expanded to conservatives.
More and more people are calling for antitrust action against these corporate giants, but I don’t think anything major will happen. Bible prophecy warns that the last days will resemble an Orwellian police state. I believe we are very close to the tribulation hour, so I think our only hope for deliverance from persecution is the rapture.
“… you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 24:9-13).