Wednesday, February 24, 2021
Daren Bakst and Gabriella Beaumont-Smith, “A Conservative Guide to the Antitrust and Big Tech Debate,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 3563, December 1, 2020.
Policymakers across the political spectrum are debating the virtue of the application of antitrust law to the technology sector. Some are proposing radical reshaping of federal antitrust law that would expand federal control over the economy. Others appear to want to use antitrust as a way to punish Big Tech. Conservatives are right to be concerned about how dominant Internet platforms stifle certain conservative speech, but antitrust is the wrong tool for addressing these concerns.
Instead, conservatives should be fighting far-left efforts to make it easier for the federal government to use antitrust law to reshape and control the technology sector and other sectors of the economy. Conservatives should also fight attacks on the consumer welfare standard in antitrust law, one of the most important developments in decades that promotes free enterprise and economic freedom. Policymakers should recognize that modern antitrust law is perfectly capable of addressing genuine anticompetitive behavior.