Wealth, power, and influence are concentrated in the hands of an elite few in American society. It’s time to get serious about breaking up these monopolies to allow real competition in the marketplace. Never before have four companies (Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook) hoarded so much wealth, stifled so much competition, and controlled so many aspects of people’s lives.
The five major media companies that control most of your information, (Disney, 21st Century Fox, CBS, Time Warner, and Viacom) are not nearly as powerful as Facebook and Google. Even if you merged the five major media companies with the five major communication companies (AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, Charter, and Dish) and the world’s top five advertising agencies (WPP, Omnicom, Publicis, IPG, and Dentsu) their total net worth is only 90 percent of that of Facebook and Google, which together are worth $1.3 trillion. Facebook and Google are gatekeepers of the news media online, with the power to censor content that challenges the status quo and progressive ideologies.
Meanwhile, Apple is the most valuable publicly traded company, valued at $900 billion. Raking in $46 billion in profits in 2016, Apple has more power than big banks like Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase. Amazon is another monopoly with unchecked power. With a market cap of $591 billion, Amazon has more stock market value than Wal-Mart, Costco, T.J. Maxx, Target, Best Buy, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Ulta, Ross, Saks/Lord & Taylor, Bed Bath & Beyond, Nordstrom, Dillard’s, JC Penny, and Sears combined. Amazon won’t be held accountable by a free press because they can buy influence. For example, they purchased the Washington Post, a protection that leverages the news in their network’s favor. These big four monopolies are valued nearly as great as every stock traded on the Nasdaq in 2001, with $2.8 trillion in market capitalization.
Are these four companies really making life easier for all of us, or are they dominating in ways that threaten American values?
Electronic snooping is a big issue that the public is wary about but openly accepts anyway. Amazon tracks your purchases; Amazon’s Alexa is collecting data from conversations in your own home. Google searches, Facebook likes, Facebook comments, iPhone location data, and the iPhone microphone and camera are all being used against consumers, collecting data about users, invading your privacy, and exploiting all your information for target marketing and further surveillance. Big Tech basically sells you out, taking your electronic data, your spending patterns, email addressing, location data, travel information, contacts, pictures, and more to enrich themselves. These companies should not have the right to freely sell your information to others.
Unlike traditional monopolies, these four companies have kept their prices low, avoiding anti-trust regulation. However, they have silently ripped apart the journalism, publishing, music, and entertainment industries over the years. Their dominance is the reason why commercial real estate and retail shopping malls are hurting like never before.
Silicon Valley’s Big Tech oligarchy knows how to dodge taxes, damaging investments in American infrastructure. The taxes they do pay are so important to the functioning of the government, these four companies gain extraordinary influence over public policy, dictating even more aspects of people’s lives. Investing in robot and AI technology, these monopolies are willing to discard human workers in order to cut costs and increase their net worth. Both corporate middle-management and entry-level service jobs are disappearing because of these four Big Tech rulers.
If the public is just going to accept Big Tech’s monopoly going forward, then everyone must prepare themselves to live as peasants, living under their thumb, on their terms. Sure, you might have the ease of purchases through Amazon, but your local retail and community entrepreneurship is suffering. Sure, you might have the comfort of an expensive iphone, but it’s slowly exploiting your privacy and turning you into zombie, tracking your every move. Sure, you might be able to get easy information directly from Google and Facebook, but now they have the power to control the information you get, censor information they don’t want you to hear, and promote the brands they can benefit from. (For more on Big Tech censorship, visit Censored.News.)