That’s All Folks!
For the past few months, we’ve written about a slew of bills that Congress was trying to ram through this lame-duck session, egregious government overreach from the head of the FTC, Lina Kahn, and poorly crafted regulatory bills from Florida and Texas that call for greater regulation of social media platforms.
In the case of Kahn, her desire to interfere with the free market and break up tech companies simply for being large was on full display when the FTC announced they would step in to regulate the gig economy, or when they sued Meta to block its acquisition of the VR company, Within. In response, we wrote about Para, a start-up that was addressing problems gig economy workers encounter, and that if the precedent of blocking acquisitions of small companies from larger ones were established, then companies like Para would have little incentive for starting in the first place.
When it came to the speech regulation bills from Florida and Texas, we wrote to remind everyone of the story of Substack and how concerns over speech regulation led to this entirely new platform where free speech and an independent press are protected. If you aren’t aware, the Twitter Files were leaked to Substack powerhouses, The Free Press (formerly Common Sense), and Matt Taibbi’s TK News—not to the mainstream media.
We’ve discussed the unintended consequences of the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) and the Open App Markets Act (OAMA). The JCPA is creating a “link tax” that forces tech companies to prop up a failing industry, and would also force them to carry publishers that may violate speech well outside the First Amendment. OAMA would create a catch-22 for tech companies: either host an app with potentially dangerous malware and be sued for negligence or refuse to host it and be sued for refusing to host it.
We’ve highlighted how MySpace was once feared as a monopoly whose reign wouldn’t end, only to…end (along with Xerox, Kodak, and Nokia!).
All the writing on these issues is due to a core belief: The free market should be left alone to correct itself, and government involvement is rarely the answer. Whenever the market encounters a problem, an entrepreneur finds a way to fix it. We should empower those folks to innovate and create.
Moreover, all companies have a lifecycle, and fears of world domination are rarely justified. Greed will always be an issue. But, as Thomas Sowell said, “People who are forever ready to charge others with ‘greed’ never apply that word to the government. But, if you think the government is never greedy, check out what the government does under the escheat laws and eminent domain.”
Here’s to hoping 2023 will be a year of fewer calls for government regulation. I doubt it, of course, as history is a constant battle between freedom and government interference.
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