tirole1_Leon Neal_Getty Images_Google eye Leon Neal/Getty Images

Regulating the Disrupters

Today’s leading technology firms have achieved ever greater concentration in their respective markets, and thrown into sharp relief the need for new antitrust policies, labor laws, and tax regimes. As policymakers confront this sprawling regulatory challenge, they must be prepared to question long-held principles and adopt a flexible approach.

TOULOUSE – The leading tech giants – such as Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google – explicitly set out to disrupt much of the world’s industrial and social status quo. They have now succeeded (I suspect) beyond their own wildest dreams, and probably beyond what some of their founders would have wished, considering the baneful effects that social media have had on democratic elections.

Given the scale and scope of these firms’ impact on our societies, it is no surprise that they inspire both hope and fear in the public consciousness. But one thing is clear: A small cohort of technology firms now guards the door to the modern economy.

That today’s information-technology markets are highly concentrated is beyond dispute. In most cases, a single company dominates a given market. There is nothing abnormal about this, as users are prone to flocking to just one or two platforms, depending on the service. But there are still legitimate grounds for concern about whether competition is functioning properly.