The rise of a global economy founded upon digital products and data sparks an unprecedented situation where corporations on a multi-national scale are left unregulated. This expansion of digital life has led to the emergence of super platforms such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon. These tech monoliths have created a digital monopoly that has absolute control over production processes, services, and user data. Regulators have been slow to act, as traditional antitrust philosophies are driven by consumer welfare and prices that have become the growth engines for today’s industries. This raises a problem for a multitude of reasons, one being that once a monopoly is established, it is challenging for another growing business to enter the market. As corporations hold user data and regulate information flow to customers, it infringes upon the opportunities of other corporations to do the same. Most digital monopolies offer their products or services to the general public for free, denying other competitors market space through demonetization. Furthermore, entire regions or countries can become dependent on these industrial corporations due to their prevalence in global economic power, jeopardizing the dynamic of both societal and foreign affairs.
Antitrust laws against modern technology companies seem extremely ineffective and archaic as these corporations are characterized heavily on the understanding of the economic market as well as rapid innovation. These monoliths have already expanded to a global scale in which legislature will only impede the development of digital technology and foster instability within the economy. To combat this, lawmakers and researchers have begun to look into the seemingly outdated antitrust laws. Although market shares and trade openness are factors that are analyzed for a predominance of a monopoly, as aforementioned, it does not account for the rise of digital data and technology.
Recently, an intellectual shift is taking place among antitrust experts to view the concentration of user data as a key indicator of a digital monopoly in both financial and commodity markets. Researchers have begun to consider key technology platforms and quantitatively identify the financial forces behind user data by comparing historical key performance indicators such as monthly active users (MAU) and market capitalization (stock price). Analysts are incorporating data visualization and linear regression (supervised machine learning technique) to analyze the strength of the correlation between MAU and market cap. From an analyst perspective, a monopolistic company carries user data that is paramount to establishing a dominant market. In this regard, new regulations must adapt to the ever-growing changes of the global economy, resisting the power vacuum created through the digital age but also by how a monopoly is defined. Do you think this approach to quantifying financial data is sufficient in regulating the unprecedented force of digital monopolies or will it remain a mere inconvenience for these tech monoliths?
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