From the man who coined the term 'net neutrality' and who has made significant contributions to our understanding of antitrust policy and wireless communications, comes a call for tighter antitrust enforcement and an end to corporate bigness.
... Wu’s The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age is a surprisingly rousing treatment of another presumably boring subject: mergers and acquisitions ... The Curse of Bigness is skinny, more of a dip with a snorkel than a deep dive. But the pithiness of this new volume is ideally suited to its subject. Wu doesn’t want to get into all the intricacies of antitrust law; if anything, an enormous book on the problem of enormity would only fool us into believing that the subject is more impenetrable than it really is — and stoke the confusion and apathy that have allowed decades of corporate consolidation to flourish in the first place ... Wu is an able guide through the history — from Theodore Roosevelt’s campaign against 'bad trusts' all the way to the expansive bloat of AT&T and Microsoft’s competition-crushing ambitions of more recent memory — but it’s on the level of ideas that his book comes into its own ... Wu knows how to keep everything concise and contained. The Curse of Bigness moves nimbly through the thicket, embracing the boons of being small.
In this concise and accessible history, Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School, takes us from the great merger movement of the late nineteenth century to the antitrust legislation and prosecutions in the Progressive Era to 'peak antitrust' in the mid-twentieth century. He judiciously describes how the 'Chicago School' of antitrust, with its narrow focus on consumer welfare, came to dominate antitrust law and ushered in our new era of monopoly capitalism ... he briskly narrates the origins and evolution of antitrust law in America ... Wu weaves his considerable knowledge of the technology and communications industries seamlessly into the arc of antitrust history—and to good effect.
Short and sharp ... an excellent primer for anyone who wants to understand why corporate wealth and power have grown so concentrated in the past four decades, and why that might be a problem for democracy ... Wu’s ideas (some of which were teased at in his last book, The Attention Merchants) are already influencing the New Brandeis school of trust busters who are gaining power at the Federal Trade Commission, America’s consumer watchdog, and other regulatory agencies in Washington. If they get their way, Big Tech may look a lot smaller in the future.