There was a time, not so long ago, when the companies now tarred collectively as “Big Tech” were celebrated as heroic champions of innovation, growth, and progress. Now, with tech companies deeply rooted near the center of the economy and everyday life, the narrative has darkened. As Rob Atkinson writes for Real Clear Policy, the risk from this emerging negativism is that government will replace the light touch, pro-innovation regulatory and policy regime that has enabled the United States to lead with a much more draconian one, designed to placate anti-innovation, techno-populists.
To be sure, many tech firms are large and have earned significant market shares. But big firms, tech or otherwise, create enormous benefits that are too often overlooked, including higher-wage jobs with better benefits than small companies offer, more exports, and more innovation. Moreover, when it comes to tech, big firms are big precisely because scale holds the key to maximizing consumer welfare. Rather than worry about hypothetical harms, governments should let consumers reap the windfall of the gains big tech companies are creating today. Most won’t be dominant long enough for any downside to materialize anyway.