The five biggest corporations in the world by market value are Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook. Their head honchos the Zuckerbergs, Gates and Bezos make the Vanderbilts, Morgans and Carnegies of the Gilded Age look like pikers. These “masters of mankind” as Adam Smith called them, love to pay lip service to competition. But you know what? They want absolute domination and control. Monopoly is not a board game for them, it is the essence of their very being. And they rely on state power to secure their position. The big five capitalist firms dominate the means of work and social interaction. Collectively, these technopolies represent a tremendous concentration of power both economic and political which do not bode well for the needs of a democratic society. Their amassing of our data is threatening. What can be done?
Rob Larson is a professor of economics at Tacoma Community College. His articles appear in In These Times, Dollars & Sense, and Jacobin. He is the author of Bleakonomics, Capitalism vs. Freedom and Bit Tyrants: The Political Economy of Silicon Valley.