Aldo Agostinelli

Last June the EU condemned Google for abuse of a dominant position. More specifically, the EU opposed to Big G habit of displaying Google Shopping items in the first positions of the web search engine. An antitrust policy which caused Alphabet, the owner of the high-tech giant, to pay a fine amounting in 2,42 billion Euros. Read it in Italian

This episode is now affecting the situation in the United States, as well. Overseas people are willing to go back to an old style free market. Antitrust supporters argue that the current antitrust law enforceable in the USA, as it was written, may not succeed in limiting the power of companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon which, due to their very nature and to the nature of the web, tend to establish a monopoly. And the Big G seems to have got particularly upset following such criticism.

The “casus belli” triggering such havoc, was the firing of Barry Lynn by New America Foundation, a famous think tank based in Washington, which since 1999 has been putting forward innovative ideas and solutions aimed at renewing American politics and economics.

Following the fine imposed onto Alphabet by the UE, Lynn published a comment on the Foundation website, inviting the American legislator to follow the example of their European colleagues in fighting the cartel putting together Google and the other web giants.

Actually, the New America Foundation is financed by Google itself (which has so far provided over 21 million dollars) and such episode got Eric Schmidt, chairman of Alphabet, furious to the point of immediately asking for the heads of both Barry Lynn and his Open Markets team, who had been dealing with market competition and monopolies. And, of course, he was fired (Google Critic Ousted From Think Tank Funded by the Tech Giant).

A boomerang effect ensued: now jobless, the team founded the non-profit organization named Citizens Against Monopoly– whose financial orientation is quite clear.

<<What happened is really crucial, since it shows that monopolies, and Google itself, are a threat for freedom of thought and the free circulation of ideas, two concepts our democracy is based on >> claimed to the Huffington Post Matt Stoller, one of the people sacked by the Foundation and member of the new non-profit.

Stoller and his colleagues believe such concentration of power to have caused many of the political issues hindering America and advocate for a return to the XX century tradition which aimed at protecting the short term consumers’ interest  as well as the long term interests of small companies and of the labour market (Criticizing Google may have cost these scholars their jobs, but they’re only getting started).

Citizen Against Monopoly has launched a global collection of signatures against censorship and high-tech monopolists, to ask Google to “stop suffocating freedom of speech and the free search on business monopolies”, and have been urging people worldwide to join their fight. The antitrust war has just started.

Do you think Google, Facebook and Amazon monopoly may be a financial and political threat? Tweet @agostinellialdo.

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Aldo Agostinelli