It seems antitrust is finally having a new moment in the sun. From Attorney General Nominee Bill Barr to Senator Amy Klobuchar, to Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, to and even President Trump, everyone is talking about antitrust in the context of Internet platforms. While antitrust is a powerful tool and essential to the proper functioning of the economy, antitrust alone cannot eliminate the full array of harms caused by highly concentrated markets. The excessive market concentration and corporate power we see today resulted not only from conservative jurisprudence and lax antitrust enforcement but also excessive deregulation. Antitrust is not sufficient to rectify the very real problems reform advocates identify.
As a new administration takes the reins in Washington, we at Public Knowledge have launched a renewed effort to promote freedom of expression on affordable communications platforms for all. We urge everyone to join this fight for the fundamentals of a truly democratic society, from the right to vote to the right to use all communications tools without fear of retaliation or interference from government or dominant corporate giants.
You may be asking yourself how the Federal Communications Commission’s proposal to eliminate the outrageous cable set-top box monopoly ripping off millions of consumers could be stopped. You may even be asking yourself this as you review your latest burgeoning cable bill.
Today, Public Knowledge (PK) publishes a substantive analysis of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). While PK does not take a position on whether trade agreements in general are good or bad as a matter of public policy, we do evaluate whether individual trade agreements affect PK’s ability to promote its mission. If an agreement benefits our policy goals we will support it, and if it undermines our mission we will oppose it. It is true, however, that PK has consistently decried the lack of openness and transparency surrounding the negotiation of trade agreements and has recommended significant reforms to the process of deliberating trade policy to give the public a more meaningful voice in evaluating the elements of trade agreements before they are completed.