Breaking Up Big Tech

With the news that two-thirds of Americans favor breaking up big tech combined with the news that Liz Warren (the biggest advocate of the idea) has broken out of the pack in Iowa, I thought I would return to this topic.

I wrote about this back when Liz first put the idea forward.

I am in favor of reigning in the monopoly/duopoly/oligopoly power of the large American tech companies. I am also in favor of reigning in the power of large tech companies that are not resident in the US.

Doing one without the other is bad policy and could give large tech companies outside of the US (particularly in Asia) a competitve advantage.

A better approach, as I advocated for in my earlier post on this topic, are policies, like the European’s GDPR, that would impact all companies doing business in the US equally.

I do not love GDPR. It is overly bureaucratic and for the most part has resulted in all of us robotically opting into being cookied everywhere.

But users do have a right to online privacy. We also have a right to self sovereign identity and ownership of our data.

Apple is offering Sign In With Apple in iOS13 to help us reduce our reliance on signing in with Facebook and Google. That’s great but it just replaces one boogyman with another.

What we need is an open sign-in protocol in which users control their sign-in keys and also all of the data we create and have created over the years once we are signed in.

Government can force industry into a regime like that with regulations that dictate that tech companies of all sizes adopt such approaches.

That is what we should be doing to reduce the market power of big tech instead of breaking them up. That is because their market power comes from this single sign-on oligopoly and the data that comes with it.

Government should not dictate the design of such a protocol or any of the technology that is required to produce such a regime. The market can and will do that once the requirements are put in place. We have much of what we need already in the form of cryptography and user centric wallet infrastructure.

We just need a forcing function to get big tech to adopt these technologies, which they won’t do on their own because they will reduce their market powers. Which is exactly why we need to do this.

#crypto#Current Affairs#entrepreneurship#hacking government#law#mobile#Web/Tech

Comments (Archived):

  1. Jon Smirl

    Is what you are looking for?

  2. T. M.

    I’m wondering if a tool like LastPass would be a better way to accomplish this?But far more importantly, I always spelled boogeyman with an “e.” Have I been wrong all these years? 🙂

  3. Anand Sanwal


  4. jason wright

    “But users do have a right to online privacy. We also have a right to self sovereign identity and ownership of our data.”We may have the sense that this is right, but where does it actually say that we have the ‘right’ to these things?

    1. Steven Roussey

      GDPR says it right at the beginning. Also CCPA.

      1. jason wright

        Well, my sense is that they actually strengthen the power of big tech by framing law that legalises the loss of notional rights to privacy online. The idea that the EU is the champion of the citizen is laughable. When Spain’s riot police brutalised people for trying vote in a referendum Brussels said and did absolutely nothing about it. The only interest Brussels has in online privacy is to protect its own power structure’s against those of the US and China.

  5. William Mougayar

    There is a blockchain-rooted initiative that is trying to promote a decentralized identity standard: Worth following. Their supporters are mostly blockchain companies, in addition to Microsoft, IBM, Accenture.As consumers, we don’t fully appreciate the value of owning our own data too much yet. We aren’t going to rebel against Facebook, Apple or Google because their setups are pain free and they work. We like fewer clicks than more clicks, and we like user-friendliness over user-ugliness. Until these new solutions become more user-friendly and offer another path of least resistance, the average consumer is not going to think about the long term implications of staying with the status quo. And these big companies aren’t going to do anything different unless they are forced to.We need a new movement “OPEN UP, DON’T BREAK-UP”.

    1. awaldstein

      Yes and no.i reject this idea that user friendliness and more wallets is the gating item to keeping back blockchain consumer adoption.Important yes, the kicker no.The real issue is value and true understanding of the narrative with the mass market.No one is able today to talk about decentralization and privacy in mass market terms.And the idea of Crossing the Chasm no longer applies. 100k or so early adopters within the crypto market for example in my opinion has zero meaning to the mass market.Community and markets have changed.Such a huge and fascinating opportunity.

      1. William Mougayar

        You need both.

    2. Matt A. Myers

      It’s too “expensive” friction-wise for people to be able to care at the moment. Once there’s fluidity in the system then the cost, effort, will be a no-brainer.

    3. jason wright

      “Their supporters are mostly blockchain companies, in addition to Microsoft, IBM, Accenture.”The enemy of my enemy is my friend?

  6. Jordan Thaeler

    Regulations hurt smaller companies disproportionally. GDPR is a trivial effort for Google, who has literally tens of billions to throw at the problem, but for a smaller company compliance could be 50% or more of their balance sheet. These unintended consequences are why markets should remain free

    1. Steven Roussey

      I guess smaller companies shouldn’t uses credit cards then either. Too much PCI compliance! The free market will weed out such weak players and we are all off better for it.

      1. Jordan Thaeler

        No idea how you arrived at this conclusion from my comment

        1. Steven Roussey

          How much is PCI compliance for small companies? It’s more difficult than GDPR. You make it sound like PCI compliance will be even more than 50% of their balance sheet!

  7. pointsnfigures

    If you are interesting in this, go to the Stigler Center and read this. https://research.chicagoboo…It’s super complicated, even more than Fred outlines in his post. I went to a two day seminar on this and heard opposing viewpoints from left wing intellectuals like Matt Stoller, who would break up Big Tech forcibly using new anti-trust laws to the chief economist at Google who said they only make .06 per click and they don’t have a good business model.I am very free market, but the free market might need some help. I am skeptical of anything Europe does because they are a command and control economy, with a large dose of crony capitalism tossed in.

  8. Guy Lepage

    I could not agree more. We feel that having an open and free protocol is something that is of the most importance for both the current Web 2.0 and New Web 3.0 for the freedom of the internet and for users self-sovereign identity online.But it’s one thing to just say this would be great to have and another to build it. Some key items must be in place for this in order for it to take off and the SSO needs to be a better UX than what we currently have.

  9. Mike

    Our free market system is based largely on competition. As I read recently, and possibly on this blog, it is not illegal to be a large and successful company, but it could be illegal if you use your size and market leadership to engage in non-competitive practices. This needs to be carefully deliberated, probably in a court of law, and the appropriate actions taken, if any, to promote the free and fair market competition that drives the economy.The idea of Self Sovereign Identify is compelling but I have a lot of questions on the implementation. IF the governement determines that one or more large tech companies is engaging in non-competitive practices it will be interesting to see if this might be a tool that is promoted as a remedy. Instinctively I think I’d like to see this application develop independent of any government regulation, if a market can be created for it.

  10. Matt A. Myers

    I agreed with everything until you got to: “We have much of what we need already in the form of cryptography and user centric wallet infrastructure.”As you said a specific technology or solution shouldn’t be picked by the government, however a “solution” that inherently has a layer of Ponzi-Pyramid scheme design should be prevented from becoming an option.It’s not technologies that companies that need to be forced to use: it’s rules such as data portability, so any system can easily connect with other systems – so a user is completely mobile, can permanently delete or remove their data (that wasn’t shared or made public – as then other users should maintain a copy of that).It’s strange but not unexpected that you’d try to bend this towards adopting “cryptography” and “user centric wallet infrastructure.” This isn’t to say blockchain won’t be a potentially valuable component to how companies or users manage the data portability rules (etc), however being clear that the Bitcoin et al Ponzi-Pyramid structure is separate from blockchain.Luckily future POTUS understands the difference – he’s all for blockchain, and says he likes where people are thinking with the potential for blockchain – however he’s careful to not poke the beast to have the hoard, “army of HODLers” not afraid to vote for him; though in reality they’re likely not being critical of the situation, and have seen a growing number, albeit small, of people saying they’ll put a portion of their $1,000/month UBI towards buying Bitcoin.

  11. Vendita Auto

    European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has made a balanced start.Ownership of our data was lost with Orwell the best one can do is ensure there is no transfer of risk. Meanwhile finding the Amazon series “The Boys” an absolute hoot I gather Homelander will be using orange rouge !!

  12. sigmaalgebra

    ForWhat we need is an open sign-in protocol in which users control their sign-in keys and also all of the data we create and have created over the years once we are signed in. I don’t see at all clearly what you have in mind:Just what “data”, i.e., how comprehensive do you have in mind?Then how to “control”?ForThat is because their market power comes from this single sign-on oligopoly and the data that comes with it. I don’t see that as very close to correct:First, I never sign on using Facebook, Google, etc. except when I go to Facebook which I rarely do. I try never to sign on to Google.Instead, I have separate user IDs and passwords for Disqus, Facebook, Walmart, Amazon, ….I refuse to go to NYT.Due to the use of cookies and the user IDs Firefox remembers, the sign on to these sites is fast — I don’t have to enter user IDs or passwords. Exception: When I have Firefox delete all the cookies, then at Disqus, etc. I have to enter my password again.[By the way, the Web site code for my startup uses no cookies! Moreover, two users who enter the same data at the essentially the same time will get the same results, that is, results are directly and only from immediate user input and are not based on personalized user history tracking.]Second, as far as I know, far and away the most important data Web users give is via cookies from third parties, apparently mostly ad networks. I have Firefox set “never” to accept cookies from third party sites, but, still, I accumulate many dozens of cookies from sites I don’t recognize and have certainly never visited directly.And somehow NO WAY can I keep Firefox from sending data to Google.But these issues are mostly about Firefox and not Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Amazon, Big Tech, whatever.

  13. Richard

    We will need new law to do this – current antitrust laws simply don’t apply and it would Need to be bipartisan and will be challenged in the courts – a decade or more to be sure.Currente law requires willfully acquiring or maintaining monopoly power as distinguished from acquisition through a superior product, business acumen, or historical accident.Therefore, contrary to popular belief, for monopolization to be illegal under U.S. antitrust law, it is not sufficient for a company to “monopolize” a market in the sense of possessing a very large market share, even a market share of 100%.

  14. Paul Brown

    It might be a good time to revisit that old-fashioned notion that we’re a nation where, at least I thought, the rule of law applies. So our personal policy preference (or Elizabeth Warren’s, or Congress’s or a majority of Americans) that “Big Tech” are too big and ought to be broken up is really beside the point. There are only two ways Big Tech are going to get broken up under Section 2 of the Sherman Act: (1) if they achieved monopoly status through unlawlul means; or (2) if they’ve maintained it through unlawful means. #1 doesn’t apply here, and no one is even really making that argument, because Big Tech achieved their size and scale through normal competition and innovation. That leaves #2, and I think it’s a stretch, as do many other antitrust practitioners. There’s nothing unlawful about being big, or even being a monopoly, or making it harder for tech startups to grow or be acquired because you’re big. The DOJ and FTC will look at some Big Tech business practices, but this is far from an antitrust slam-dunk. Very far.

    1. Mike

      What is the take on alleged Amazon preferential treatment for its own products in it’s marketplace, Apple controls on App store distribution? There is and will be a natural inclination to protect interests.

      1. Paul Brown

        I actually don’t think those practices are a big deal, Mike. Grocery chains have been using that technique for years, as have pharmacy chains and others. They use customer data to produce private label products that compete with the brand names on their shelves, and they give their private label products shelf priority.The argument some make is that Amazon is different because it has a relatively high e-commerce market share. Generously, Amazon’s online market share is maybe 40%. Probably lower. But as a percentage of total retail, Amazon’s market share is single digits.

        1. JLM

          .The private label argument is a winning argument. Again, I agree more with you than you do with yourself.Interestingly enough, there are a number of big “brands” who believe that the public disclosure of the price difference between Whole Foods private label and their name brand product spurs sales as the consumer says, “For a small premium, I can have the original.”JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        2. Salt Shaker

          Not the same. When you shop at a supermarket, even if a house brand gets preferential display and facings, it’s still a “freedom of choice” shopping experience. There are lots of competitive product at eye level. There’s also peripheral vision. When you shop online, the first listing has a huge preference advantage, with purchase data backing that dynamic. The hierarchy of exposure for brands in-store vs. online is quite different.

          1. Paul Brown

            Sorry, Salt Shaker, but I don’t follow your argument. Are you really making the claim that supermarkets and pharmacy chains offer MORE consumer choice than Amazon? And why is preferred shelf positioning less concerning than search result prominence? I just don’t see it.

          2. Salt Shaker

            I’ll try again and maybe provide a clearer explanation. Of course, online can and does deliver a wider variety of product than in-store, but to drill down and explore the depth of listings requires more work on the part of the consumer. There are greater advantages online in a 1st product listing than having more facings in-store. Why? Even if there’s a disparity in shelf space a brand gets in-store, a consumer nonetheless can very easily see the entire array with a short visual scan, while online Is 100% a linear shopping experience requiring more time and effort, which makes a 1st listing so valuable. Of course, we’re only talking about “everyday” household products, not those that fall into a more considered purchase category.

          3. JLM

            .I agree with every word you say, but it is still a good comparison.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          4. sigmaalgebra

            Product placement effects?I recently moved so have been doing a LOT of shopping for my new digs. I over shopped, spent too much time trying for just what I wanted at relatively low prices. I used Google and Bing, shopped widely on-line and locally at Walmart, Sam’s, and Home Depot.E.g., I wanted two of the long standard Pyrex 2 quart covered all glass casserole dishes. I found prices:Wal-Mart: $38.15Amazon: $24.48Wayfair: $19.19Outermart Store: $16.44Pyrex: $12.00Fleet Farm: $9.99I bought two of the dishes at Fleet Farm.Gads, either I can buy the dishes at Fleet Farm for less than Wal-Mart or Amazon can buy them or Wal-Mart and Amazon have one heck of a large markup!The biggest frustration was good lighting for my new office: The room has no provision for overhead fluorescent, so I have to use bulbs in table lamps or floor lamps. What I want is the light, about 4000 lumens, with a really good diffuser globe or shade high and behind one shoulder.Well, with the big attack — from (i) likely well paid off politicians and (ii) hysterical, screaming Greenie convenient idiots, both likely funded by companies out to kill off competition from incandescent bulbs — on incandescent bulbs (that wisely Trump just reversed) and the big pushes for compact fluorescent (with the somewhat big issues of mercury if break a bulb and disposal if they burn out) and LEDs (light emitting diodes), it’s TOUGH to get 4000 lumens inside one diffuser. We want mostly just ONE light source since that is what we get outside from the sun and are used to, and we want the light well diffused since that is what we get from dust in the atmosphere.Finally I found “corn LED” bulbs, e.g., one about 3 1/2″ in diameter and about 7″ high with 4050 lumens at color temperature 5000 K from just 30 Watts. The base for the electrical contact is the standard E26 medium socket. The bulb is30W LED Bulb(200-250W Halogen Bulb Equivalent) LED Corn Light Bulbs Daylight 5000K E26 Medium Base Bulb 4050 Lumens, for Home Garage Warehouse Workshop Lightingby GE RUN maybe still at…for $16.88.For the bulb I got a big drum lamp shade 14″ in diameter, 15″ high — suitable for an office and not for some Victorian drawing room. For the harp that wraps around the bulb and supports the shade, apparently there is nothing on the market (market opportunity!), so I took a brass harp, relatively large 11″ high, used a vise, hammer, pliers, mostly eyeball measuring, etc. and bent the thing so that it was a good fit. It’s close to the bulb but I still did get to use the standard saddle that the harp attaches to and fits just under the base of the socket and a standard socket with a pull chain on a common, old brass table lamp. The shade is just where it should be. I have the lamp on top of a file cabinet and, thus, high and behind me!My version of a desk is three tables, each 30 x 72″ arranged in a U, fairly solid, black, nice top, $50 each at Sam’s. And I got a nice office chair on casters.So, that was a LOT of shopping!Lesson: Careful shopping, digging down to see lots of options and information, fighting through lots of Internet Web site JavaScript interruption cruft, totally ignoring anything about “product placement”, etc. pays surprisingly big results on price, functionality, and quality.So, no way did any subtle marketing, advertising, product placement, recommendation tricks or devices fool me — not a chance.

    2. JLM

      .I did not see your comment until I had unleashed mine above.You @disqus_3T39e31BWk:disqus said it first in regard to the anti-trust legal arguments. Bravo!Therefore, I agree more with you than you do with yourself.I also point out that the DOJ Anti-Trust folk and the FTC are the least political government stooge lawyers in the District of Columbia. They don’t care who the President is or the leading candidate.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    3. Steven Roussey

      Laws can be changed.

  15. Richard

    Have to call BS on the 2/3 believe in the breakup of big technology. First – we would have to agree on what big technology is. Second – we would all to agree on what breakup means ?

  16. JLM

    .A thoughtful person has to delve beneath the political populism argument to ask — “On what basis would it be lawful to “break up” these BIG TECH companies? What tool is at the disposal of our wonderful Congress? Or a Warren presidency?”Unfortunately, or fortunately depending upon whether your ox is still on the road or in the ditch, the only lawful means of breaking up a company is some allegation of illegal activity that created or sustains the monopoly. The operative words in that discussion have to be: illegal, market share, pricing, damage to the consumer.Let me start with the lowest hanging fruit. If you complain of Google, as an example, then be prepared to persuade others that a company that gives away much of its largess for FREE is using its marketshare to manipulate prices.Likewise, if you complain of FB slapping Instagram with its checkbook on the eve of the FB IPO, find a good argument why FB making the Insta boys multi-millionaires is a bad thing.Be prepared to prove — with real evidence — why being able to buy double-sided sticky tape for next to nothing on Amazon hurts the consumer. I bought some stuff recently that could close the Crack of Dawn. Thank you, Jeff Bezos.What is illegal is the following:1. Creating a monopoly by utilizing illegal means. 2. Maintaining a monopoly by utilizing illegal means.The “monopoly” has to deliver some damage to the consumers. A monopoly that provides good service at a fair price though it may own 90% of the market is a monopoly but it is not a monopoly created or maintained by utilizing illegal means.Coming to work earlier than your competition, boxing their ears, whipping the competition like a red-headed-step-child-with-a-lisp or a rented mule is not “illegal means.”That is the law.What is really happening here is:1. People are getting tired of getting their ears boxed by BIG TECH and are going into victim mode. Somebody had a hard time returning a product to Amazon after the prescribed return time period and when asked what should happen they say, “Big Tech should be broken up!”This is the danger of taking to the streets to determine complex legal issues. This is why surveys like this are pre-ordained in their outcome. It is like asking a bunch of Auburn fans what they think about Nick Satan’s salary.2. People are conflating their privacy beefs with the anti-trust argument. They are two different arguments.To digress. FB paid a $5B fine to the DOJ in July for a data privacy breach beef. It had nothing to do with anti-trust.…The negative energy contained therein is being mistakenly re-directed to the issue of anti-trust — a completely wrongheaded act as they are not legally related.3. People — particularly the political and VC illuminati — are looking for some advantage, some blunting of the sharp edge of the competitive advantages of these companies. Both the politicians and the VC illuminati are trying to catch and ride that same populist wave.In the end, there is nothing in business that will stifle innovation like spending 5 years regulating the Hell out of it. It is mind boggling to see how quickly the liberal lefties in this country run to the Capitol to get relief from the successes they created themselves.If Pres Trump has taught us anything it is this — the reduction of regulation will free the forces of capitalism to create jobs, create wealth, and to improve the lives of our citizens. You may hate coal, but the poor guy who sat on the bench for 4 years during the Obama admin who got a job is happy.News flash: There are winners and losers in life and business.Sen Elizabeth Warren is on the warpath on this matter because her position polls well (the subject itself polls for shit). She is one of the country’s foremost experts on bankruptcy law. She has tapped into this wave and will ride it as far as she can.I think Sen Warren will be the Dem nominee to which I say, “Please, God. I will do whatever you ask of me. Anything. Please.”On the list of the top 5-10 things that Americans will discuss or be interested in this election cycle this subject polls at: “Can I get back to you on that?”I almost nose spit my coffee when I read Freddie’s utterance: “I am also in favor of reigning in the power of large tech companies that are not resident in the US.” He sounds absolutely Trumpian. Bravo!JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. Richard

      Fred is either misleading his readers or simply doesn’t think things through. If we are the average person to make a list of those things they would like to see changed that would improve their lives and or happiness – or even improve the lives and happiness of their neighbors, breaking up big tech doesn’t even make the list, no where. It may make the list of seed stage venture capitalist however.

      1. Nas Hashmi

        Don’t trust VCs who have incentives in maintaining big tech.

        1. fredwilson

          Huh? I just wrote a post advocating regulating them.

          1. Nas Hashmi

            Regulating big tech is equivalent to maintaining big tech. It is like regulating cable companies or power utilities who are sole provider in your neighborhood.Breaking big tech is reducing the scopes and interests of every company. No giant should be interested in too many things at once in unison.

    2. sigmaalgebra

      Beautiful. A+ journalism. Magnificent.Analogy: 330 megatons to swat a fly.Analogy: Pearls cast in the mud.Tough to find anything sillier than another biggie burp from Fauxcahontas.As good as your post is, any baby sitting should be better use of time! For a perfect grand daughter, much better use of time!

  17. gmalov

    Plenty of dimensions to unwrap under the notion of breaking up big tech (privacy, monopolistic/competitive forces, social good, etc.) and I agree with your view, reigning in market power is a better approach to breaking up Big Tech.So how do we reign them in? Essentially, two methods regulation (GDPR force) or incentivize (Adam Smith). Personally, I would like to explore ways to persuade big tech to collectively develop and adopt standards, rather than have ineffective regulation drive behavior change. I realize this is a tall order, but I believe we need to rethink how to approach governance and establishing industry standards which keep pace with the speed of technological change. It’s important to recognize – there is an obvious imbalance from an organizational context, governing bodies cannot scale alongside tech companies, so they will always run behind – case in point GDPR, enforcement is a disaster.

  18. Tom Labus

    The AT&T divestiture was initiated by a DOJ anti trust lawsuit. Once AT&T figured they were going to lose, they proposed the divesture plan of the spinout of the Bell operating companies and Bell Labs. Started under Ford and concluded under Reagan.

  19. sigmaalgebra

    ForWith the news that two-thirds of Americans favor breaking up big tech combined with the news that Liz Warren (the biggest advocate of idea) has broken out of the pack in Iowa, I thought I would return to this topic. Long ago I gave up on Fauxcahontas and her many biggie statements. I so gave up I don’t have a really good list of her many biggie, totally brain-dead, delusional, wildly destructive if implemented statements. But, looking in my little file system directory for her, right away I see a total show stopper, 100% forever disqualification:As at…is in part18 Mar 2019Monday during a CNN town hall, 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey’s (D-MA) so-called Green New Deal was “about building the infrastructure for the 21st century.”Warren said, “We need to step up our investment in infrastructure right here in the United States of America. That’s how we build a future. And I’ll add one little piece to it and say when you take a look at the Green New Deal, understand this is about building the infrastructure for the 21st century, for a sustainable world.” Okay, strictly, literally,Ed Markey’s (D-MA) so-called Green New Deal was “about building the infrastructure for the 21st century.” this is true: The statement doesn’t clearly, solidly, literally say that she is in favor of the Green New Deal (GND) but just what it is “about”.Okay.But definitely it sounds like she is in favor of the GND.But, wait, there’s more! As below we have that in Congress she voted for the GND “in the form of a sense of Congress resolution”.So there’s no question: She’s definitely, solidly on the public record in favor of the GND, essentially the whole package.For how much the Green New Deal (GND) might cost, I just used that evil monopoly Google to find…with in partHow Much Will the Green New Deal Cost Your Family?Marlo Lewis, Jr. • February 26, 2019The American Action Forum (AAF) yesterday posted a preliminary analysis of the scope, implications, and costs of the Green New Deal (GND). I can’t wait for the Senate to debate this proposal. As AAF’s analysis shows, the Green New Deal would be financially devastating to millions of middle-income households.The Green New Deal is a progressive environmental and social policy wish-list, in the form of a sense of Congress resolution. Co-sponsored by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), the resolution calls for a “new national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization on a scale not seen since World War II and the New Deal.” Major goals include:Meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States “through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources”Eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. transportation, manufacturing, and agricultural sectors “as much as technologically feasible”Upgrading all existing buildings and constructing new buildings to achieve “maximal energy efficiency”Guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United StatesProviding all Americans with adequate housing, high-quality health care, and economic securityThe resolution has 68 co-sponsors in the House and 11 in the Senate, none of them Republicans. Seven of the sponsors—Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Kirstin Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)—are declared presidential candidates.The American Action Forum estimates that, between 2020 and 2029, the energy and environmental components of the Green New Deal would cost $8.3 trillion to $12.3 trillion, or $52,000 to $72,000 per household. The total GND program, including the jobs and “social justice” policies, would cost $51.1 trillion to $92.9 trillion, or $316,010 to $419,010 per household.Perhaps as significant as what the Green New Deal says is what it does not say. The word “cost” occurs only once—in a provision directing the U.S. government to “take into account the complete environmental and social costs of emissions.” Although emissions from infrastructure, transportation, manufacturing, and agriculture are to be reduced “as much as technologically feasible,” the text nowhere states or implies that emission reductions must be cost effective, commercially viable, or reasonably affordable.Although staggering, the costs in AAF’s chart above include only the direct expenditures needed to achieve the Green New Deal’s goals. A separate analysis would be required to estimate the GND’s impacts on the growth and performance of the U.S. economy.The AAF analysts conclude with a warning about the less quantifiable perils of centralized planning and World War II-style “mobilization” of the nation’s industries and resources:The Green New Deal is clearly very expensive. Its further expansion of the federal government’s role in some of the most basic decisions of daily life, however, would likely have a more lasting and damaging impact than its enormous price tag. with also a summary table at…Uh, you did notice the figure of $92.9 trillion?Big question 1: Where do Warren and buddies get that really strong funny stuff they’ve been smoking?Big question 2: Without the use of suicidal Kool-Aid, is there any proposal worse for the US than the GND?Net, the GND should be a sufficient condition for diagnosis of dangerous delusions, dementia, the DTs, severe brain damage, or worse.So, why should we listen to more from Fauxcahontas?In particular, why about breaking up Big Tech?Why listen to some demented wack-o such as Warren about anything?I won’t.I have this data and this post where it’s easy to find and, soon, nicely backed up and will NOT forget.Similarly for the rest of the names above.

  20. B Smith

    “Liz Warren”? Are you kidding? Do you know her personally? If not, no matter your opinion on her position, you should show some respect and refer to her professionally and respectfully as Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

    1. Richard

      Titles ? Are you kidding ? We are all past the era of political titles – Maybe save the time politicians are actually sitting in Capitol or teaching in the classroom.

      1. fredwilson

        Everyone has a right to complain here.

  21. Nas Hashmi

    There is an advantage to big tech, much of what we are already seeing. And there is something like a disadvantage to big tech. You cannot have one without the other.Tech barrons are competing with each other, just not in each other’s core territories, but rather in a bunch of territories that is not essential to their core market.Small players are getting bulldozed over either through acquisitions or through market competition, or through the lack of unconflicted VCs.Breakup needs to happen but the wrong breakup can lead to a fallout of failed technologies. (Bus and train companies were once told to separate, and both ended up failing).All tech barrons possess “market creep” advantages, e.g. search engines providing mapping services. The “creeps” becomes full scale industries. Separating them becomes a nightmare.Platforms, content creation, and content distribution need to separate into competing parts.Google needs to let go of play store.Amazon needs to let go of selling its own products.Netflix needs to stop making its own shows or let go of its streaming business.Social networks needs to stop functioning as login services and content creation platforms, and start focusing on content distribution and network effects.Uber needs to separate into driver services and customer requests platforms.

    1. JLM

      .”Google needs to let go of Play Store.”Why?Google drives Android and the Play Store is a cornucopia of apps that work on Android. Why is that bad for the consumer?Apple drives iOS and the Apple Store is a cornucopia of apps that work on Apple. More than 1MM visitors troll the Apple Store daily. It is a center of commerce for the app developer and the consumer. Why is that bad?Whole Foods has its own private label business that offers WF sponsored products side-by-side with alternatives. Usually, WF private label products are substantially cheaper than the name brands. How is the consumer damaged? Isn’t she advantaged?What one calls “market creep” another calls “brand expansion.” Why should the fiber optic cable coming into my house not be filled to overflowing with Internet service, digital phone, entertainment, security, communication, and every possible app I can get through the pipe?Netflix is a perfect example of the same logic that groceries use in their private label campaigns.Show me, quantify the damage. Then, show me the benefit of the change.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. Nas Hashmi

        “why is that bad?”When platforms get in the business of making one distributor win on its platform while the others lose, they create monopoly.When distributors get in the business of making one product win at its distribution system while the others lose, they create monopoly.iOS app store charges 30%. Many apps are not able to sell at that store. Apple gets an advantage selling products in its store.Everyone comes to whole foods for general products and because of the variety. When WF reduces the price of its products and raises the price of its competitors, it hurts other companies who don’t have the same distribution abilities.Brand expansion is fine, just as market creep. Hurting other brands in marketplaces governed by your platform is not. Expanding your brand while hurting other brands is not..Consumers don’t get hurt in these situations. Companies do. Entrepreneurs do. Future competitors do. And consumers become vulnerable to the whims of the tech barrons and oligarchs. One day they get hurt too.

        1. JLM

          .The words do not exist in the English language for me to state the degree to which I disagree with your comment, but let me take a stab at it.First, there is nothing wrong with creating a monopoly.It is not even remotely illegal. What is illegal is to use “illegal actions” to create a monopoly.This is a simple matter of understanding the law.There are always winner and losers in capitalism. If you decide to compete v Amazon, good luck. Do not be surprised if Amazon picks up the mantle and crushes you like a bug.The product, the price, the promotion, the packaging, the competition determine the decision of the consumer. Ultimately, the consumer picks the winners, thereby defining the losers in the shadow of the winners.The Apple Store provides a daily audience of 1MM sets of eyeballs a day, almost half a billion a year for which they charge a handsome royalty. Nobody is forced to list on the Apple Store, in fact, Apple makes it pretty damn difficult to get listed. If you don’t want to pay the price, don’t list.I live in Austin By God Texas and shopped at WF #1 on Lamar Blvd and have known the founder, John Mackey since before he had a second store.The unique positioning of WF is not general products or variety. It is vetted organic produce, fruits, meat, fish, foods and food safety presented in a lively manner staffed by an energetic staff.When Amazon bought them, the price of all organic fruits and vegetables went down and there have been two additional rounds of reductions. The delivery tech is extraordinary. I can get 1 hour home delivery in ATX, though I know this isn’t nationwide.Anti-trust is all about the plight of the consumer. The anti-trust law is bounded by the impact on the consumer, the use of illegal methods to create/maintain monopolies, the impact on pricing. It is silent on the issue of competition between companies.You cannot have an anti-trust violation that is not founded on consumer impact.Competitors are allowed to compete so fiercely that their competitors go out of business. That is fair behavior under the law. Business is not T ball. Youcan even fail as a borderline monopoly — talking to you, Toys R Us.If the market objects to the whims of tech barons and oligarchs (not a relevant term by any measure of the conversation in American commerce), then the marketplace will vote with their money. This competition can occur at any level. This is why iPhones prosper and Google phones do doesn’t make any difference who the sponsors are. Whether they are tech barons. It is the products that compete.If you cannot show direct damage to the consumer in the matter of monopoly then you are pissing into the wind.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          1. Nas Hashmi

            “Anti-trust is all about the plight of the consumer… It is silent on the issue of competition between companies.”United States v. Microsoft Corp. disagrees. It considers platforms and services as separate entities. Platforms cannot use their dominance to stomp out the little guy in favor of its own products. Antitrust is not just about the consumer.

          2. JLM

            .The 2001 case was in fact about the bundling of Internet Explorer and the inability of a consumer to select Netscape or Java as an alternative. So, yes, it was all about the consumer.MS in its defense said, “… the merging of Windows and IE was the result of innovation and competition, that the two were now the same product and inextricably linked, and that consumers were receiving the benefits of IE free.”This is a bad case to cite as MS got away with murder, at best a slap on the wrist. The final settlement agreement forced MS to provide access to info that was only useful on a MS operating system thereby driving even more business to MS.MS should have been punished for their pre-trial, trial, post-trial behavior, not their monopolistic behavior.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  22. ThatAdamGuy

    First, let me explicitly note my hardcore bias: I’m a long-time Googler (though I absolutely don’t speak on behalf of the company here or elsewhere nowadays; my views here are my own) :)That said… I’m surprised and disappointed that you linked to that Vox article. While I used to enjoy and greatly respect Vox, the polling questions they’ve cited as the fundamental basis of their editorial are… really, really bad and they should feel bad.Example:”Would you support or oppose a policy breaking up big tech companies by undoing recent mergers, like Facebook buying Instagram, so there is more competition in the future?”Among other things:- It mentions what I believe is the currently most vilified tech company.- It implies “if this, then that” (if breakup, then more competition), which is a potentially very faulty assumption.Beyond even the shockingly bad construction of the questions in this poll, however, I just don’t think this is a topic that’s realistically addressable by polling in general. There are just too many nuances involved with mergers… too many indirect consumer benefits and harms that greatly vary by the merger at issue.Much more interesting and insightful would be a focus group, where the nuances could be delved into a bit… tradeoffs in convenience, privacy, economies of scale, pricing, etc.

  23. Paul Brown

    The more I reflect on this post the more I feel like Fred is really out of his element.

    1. fredwilson

      Or out of my mind

      1. JLM

        .Hahaha, now that shit is funny. Well played.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  24. Adam Parish

    @fredwilson:disqus is Sign in with Apple going to influence a decision to give up your Pixel or Chromebook?I do think Apple is right to capitalize on security and privacy as a competitive advantage, but I love the flexibility and experience of Google services.

  25. Steven Roussey

    Thank you for promoting what we are working on, but you left out the signup form at

  26. fredwilson

    you can call me whatever you want. even dipshit. i don’t care. i don’t take myself or anyone else that seriously

  27. fredwilson

    and i love it when people call me freddy. many of my best friends do

    1. Patrick

      I can’t tell if this one is sarcastic or not… often when I see someone refer to you as Freddy I assume it’s either intended or perceived as a slight.

  28. Itamar Reif

    The words open and protocol are key here. Generally, the idea of a decentralized log-in exists in the form of private keys; you can use the same secp256k1 key pair for most blockchains, and across any apps that are based on the ones that implement this.One of the problems is that there’s no open framework to coordinate this and developers have to implement drivers or logic for whichever way users are storing keys, be that a Ledger or Trezor hardware wallet, Intel SGX, or Apple CryptoKit (e.g. for Tezos’ NIST curve). If there was an open library that simply aggregated these implementations with a nice JS wrapper for web development, it would be much easier to be using whichever key storage method you wish with a plethora of services. And it’s important to keep this open-source for two reasons; the first and obvious one is the liberty that FOSS offers, and the second is the range of security models people require – someone who’s only using the keys for logging into social media has very different concerns than a trader, and the best way to accommodate this range of requirements is an open standard that would allow an open market around the implementations at its edges.The second major problem is key recovery. Both extremes of social media and fintech allow users to recover their accounts in the case that they lose access (from email verification to KYC-type verification), whereas you have to struggle with things like 24 words on a piece of paper for private keys right now. This one’s a bit more complicated to solve, but tools like publicly verifiable secret sharing allow us to construct trustless transactions and thus decentralized markets around key storage in a secure manner. Furthermore, if you abstract away a verification process (email verification, KYC, or even a multisig), you can create a market around key recovery. As we know, markets are our best instrument in matching preferences to consumers, we just need a market with the proper capabilities.

    1. Steven Roussey

      Is key recovery that hard? Maybe the solution I have I should rent out.

      1. Itamar Reif

        Centralized key recovery of course exists, but the decentralized problem is a much harder one and I do not know of a good implementation that currently exists. I’d love a link, though!

        1. Steven Roussey

          I have a unique solution, and it seems obvious in retrospect, but coming up with it required a strange set of circumstances. I should look into a patent for it.

  29. paulsnx2

    Exactly what we are doing at Factom

  30. Dick Hardt

    While I am aligned with breaking out of the identity silos of big tech, I don’t think most people can manage their own credentials. Modern authentication is much more sophisticated than just have a credential — 100s of factors are analyzed for anomalies, and then additional factors are requested. Account recovery is complicated. What happens when grandma losing her crypto key? How does she recover?

  31. Mikel Ayala

    At least in theory, if a statistically representative sample of users openly shared their navigation data, the market power of big tech could be drastically reduced. We need neither government intervention nor collaboration of tech companies, but an orchestrated effort of civil society to open up the data vaults of big tech.

  32. Adam H

    Things need aheavy heard as I think.

  33. Davino Van Hal

    There are only few Belgian government services that are frictionless.But I do like's setup in 2 minutes via your bank account. You can use it to login to government online services, and also increasingly for services outside of government.Of course, a national service is not the best way forward, but I like it