Those who follow this blog know that one of my issues with economic opportunity is the current interpretation of anti-trust law. It is a narrow definition that only looks at if the consumer is harmed. If there is not a risk of prices increasing or quality of products or services diminishing, then a company can keep acquiring competitors, eliminating jobs, and squash startup competitors.
Well, we may have a new sheriff in town, 32-year old Lina Khan. She was appointed this week as commission of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) who is responsible for interpreting and executing anti-trust law. She has been vocal about her position against tech company monopolies. Perhaps she will lead the charge in breaking up big tech and creating more level playing fields to tap into the monopolistic networks these companies own and control.
This will certainly be a key focus for her. One other area I would like for her to focus on is the pharmaceutical industry. There are terrible pricing issues that have gone unchecked for far too long. An example of one of the practices is when drug companies pay off generic drug manufacturers to delay them from making generic versions of drugs coming off patent. This should not happen and needs to be stopped.
I am hopeful that this may be a changing of the tide. If it is, it will be interesting to watch what it does to the stock prices of some of these targeted monopolistic companies. Will they go down or could they increase with the market valuing the parts more than the sum? And will some of them voluntarily change their behavior at the expense of profits/stock price to build goodwill with customers and legislators?