June 12, 2018
PRIVACY AND FREEDOM
Reagan’s Record of Breaking Up Monopolies
The mobile internet monopoly that has emerged in America is leading to a number of negative consequences for consumers and companies alike. With so few options for mobile internet, Americans are facing steeper prices. Since there is such little competition, mobile internet providers are able to fix prices at whatever levels would most benefit their businesses, without attention to its effect on customers. Prices aren’t the only thing being affected: Google and Apple have a 98-percent market share in mobile operating systems, giving the monopoly unprecedented power to censor conservative views. Yet with mobile Internet powering nearly every type of personal and professional communication today, Americans need to continue relying on such providers—despite high prices and unregulated policies.
The mobile internet monopoly also discourages other businesses from entering the fray, which runs counter to the notion of a free economy, in which competition fuels growth. The lack of competing businesses means fewer jobs, which not only affects Americans’ bottom lines but also trickles down into a lack of investment in the economy.
So how can the mobile internet monopoly best be addressed? Looking to the past is one way to find solutions. For Ronald Reagan, breaking monopolies up was a cornerstone of his economic policies. Shortly after he took office, in January 1982, the nation saw the dissolution of one of its most long-time monopolies. The federal government had sued Bell Systems for antitrust violations, resulting in a settlement that broke up the AT&T telephone monopoly, at the time the largest private company in the world.
Reagan instituted a new method for federal review of proposed corporate mergers, which could be one area revisited to address today’s mobile Internet monopoly. Reagan saw the need for getting ahead of potential monopolies by circumventing potential problem areas at the start. Reviewing and updating merger guidelines to specifically address the realities of today’s Internet-powered age can put the nation one step closer to reducing monopolies and giving economic freedom back to the American people.
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