Friday (July 31st): Big Tech. vs. Bigger Countries!

Jeff Bezos

Name? Jeff Bezos

Westphalian identity? United States of Amazon sorry American

Age? 56

Why is he in the news? Bezos testified before Congress this week alongside the chiefs of Apple, Alphabet (Google’s parent company) and Facebook regarding the tech giants’ tactics and market dominance that have made them so successful.

Why do we care? Because Bezos constructed an image as a D.C. elite is quickly collapsing with every defense he must make in Congress. In contrast to Cook, Pichai and Zuckerberg who have all had a more hands-on approach when it comes to lawmakers. All four companies have become more and more influential in this world, making their decisions increasingly impactful on foreign policy as well. 

Why should you care? Because you most likely spend the majority of your time using these four men’s products. So we’re going to go out on a limb here and say that you care about how much those products can limit your privacy while maximizing their profits to the point that they can act almost like countries. 

Who else cares? The EU. While the U.S. Congress berated the tech giants through a surprisingly united antitrust panel, across the sea, EU leaders are looking to further limit the companies reach in their member states. Officials there have found that antitrust laws and million dollar penalties have not gone far enough to alter the behavior of those like Bezos. 

Any further comments? If the proposed laws in Europe are enacted, the policies could lead to a major overhaul of the region’s digital economy. Remembering that the status of countries is above companies (making them more powerful) they are now drafting at least half a dozen new laws and regulations. As stated by Representative Cicilline of Rhode Island, “Our founders would not bow before a king. Nor should we bow before the emperors of the online economy;” nor should anyone.

Sarah McFadden

Team Member of Research & Analysis