The Blowback Against Facebook, Google and Amazon Is Just Beginning
against the tech superpowers (Facebook, Google and Amazon).
people are starting to question the social and political costs of these tech darlings’ dominance and the billions in profits they reap.
That’s a much more dangerous type of power than buying political influence or manipulating public opinion by openly publishing biased “news.”
recall how every time Bernie Sanders won a Democratic primary in 2016, The New York Times and The Washington Post “reported” the news in small typeface in a sidebar, while every Hillary Clinton primary win was trumpeted in large headlines at the top of page one.
I recently addressed these invisible (but oh-so profitable) mechanisms in a series of essays:
- How Far Down the Big Data/’Psychographic Microtargeting’ Rabbit Hole Do You Want to Go?
- Is Profit-Maximizing Data-Mining Undermining Democracy?
- Should Facebook, Google and Twitter Be Public Utilities?
- Should Facebook and Google Pay Users When They Sell Data Collected from Users?
- Research Shows Google’s Search Manipulations Tried To Rig Election For Hillary
- Google’s File On You Is 10 Times Bigger Than Facebook’s – Here’s How To View It
- Don’t Fix Facebook. Replace It. (The New York Times)
- The Infuriating Innocence of Mark Zuckerberg (The New Yorker)
Amazon is growing its sales by cannibalizing the retail, distribution, transport, computer services and advertising sectors. How many jobs have been lost as Amazon has consumed its victims? Shall we guess that Amazon’s 560,000 employees replaced 1,000,000+ retail/distribution employees who lost their jobs?
it’s local taxes, local retail stores that attracted pedestrians and other enterprises–the built environment and social spaces of our cities and towns. As those are gutted and replaced by Amazon warehouses in the boondocks, much more is being lost than retail jobs.
Amazon’s “growth” is not actually “growing” the economy in any useful way; it’s simply consolidating a number of sectors into one quasi-monopoly.
Anybody with cash can buy political influence. But few organizations have the billions of profits to spend on political favors and protection that Google, Amazon and Facebook have.
Divide $134 billion–Bezos’ personal stake in Amazon stock– by 560,000, and you get $239,285. How many of Amazon’s employees (average pay is around $28,000 annually) have a net worth of $240,000 or more? Vanishingly few below the top layer of techies and managers.
Once capitalism only creates a peon-debt-serf class and a 5% technocrat / manager / financier / entrepreneur / speculator class that harvests 70% of the wealth and income, then democracy dies by the slow poison of rising inequality and ever greater asymmetries of wealth and political power.
The most dangerous dynamics in America are the erosion of the mechanics of democracy by wealth/corporate power, and the erosion of middle-class employment in favor of maximizing corporate profits .
Facebook, Google and Amazon are each accelerating this erosion not by accident, but