Big businesses harness the power of the Internet

Companies such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook have an expansive online presence that gives them unprecedented influence in global business. Excessive concentration of economic power among a small number of corporations negatively affects both consumers and business owners. Monopolies can result in overpriced goods, a lack of variety for consumers, and stifled innovation, because there is no incentive for these dominating companies to invent anything new, according to

Large technology companies such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook have a potent online presence that gives them global economic power. Courtesy of

In the past, large companies have taken over parts of the United States economy, including the railroad, steel, and oil industries. Rich companies had and continue to have the money to lobby in Congress and influence laws that benefit their businesses. They can determine where they would receive the largest profits, and with this information, control their taxes and the locations of their factories and employees, placing them in states or countries that most support the company’s growth, according to The New York Times

However, when this occurred, the government recognized the potential dangers of this economic domination and political influence. As a result, the government passed legislation, beginning with the Sherman Antitrust Act, which famously resulted in the break-up of Standard Oil, according to The New York Times. These legislative efforts are meant to limit companies’ ability to set prices, and they create equal trade conditions.

Historically, these dominating companies have profited from natural resources such as oil, but in the present day, these large corporations may be technology companies. 

When a select number of elite businesses dominate the global economy, competition amongst companies decreases. As consumers buy more from these larger companies, small businesses and other local enterprises suffer. This unbalanced concentration of economic wealth and power will ultimately limit consumers’ choice, reducing the number of companies from which he or she is able to purchase, according to The New York Times

For example, Jeff Bezos founded Amazon as an electronic commerce company Tuesday, July 5, 1994. Today, Amazon has expanded, dominating numerous industries such as food, transportation, retail, technology, cloud computing, and media and entertainment, according to In fact, Amazon and Whole Foods Market have worked together to reach all consumers through the integration of both electronic-commerce and in-store purchases. Through this collaboration, countless Whole Foods employees have lost their jobs and Amazon has increased their commercial presence and economic influence.

Companies with the most economic power, such as Apple, are less inclined to comply with the needs of the consumer, and therefore increase the price of traditional products. Courtesy of

Further, when there is a lack of corporate competition, the companies with the most economic power are less inclined to comply with the needs of consumers. This means that large companies have little-to-no need to maintain lower-prices or invent new products. Instead, these businesses are enabled to infringe unsuitably high prices and create replications of a singular product, according to For example, Apple created the iPhone in June 2007. Since then, Apple has sold over a billion iPhones and released 18 replicas of the iPhone all with similar faculties and uses, according to The New York Times.

More than 60 countries have national or regional agencies that focus on combatting unequal distribution of power amongst businesses, according to The European Union’s European Commission and the United States’ Federal Trade Commission are examples of agencies that need to cooperate and continue to revise, reinforce, and even recreate antitrust laws that respond to the rapid technological changes that businesses have harnessed.

To solve this, the public must view issues of competition and monopoly on a global level, not just within the United States. Governments must cooperate with each other to create a unified competition organization that manages the concentration of economic power on an international scale. If economic power is more dispersed and less open to abuse, companies will have less potential to dominate political affairs.

For example, when one company seems to have a heavy influence over a nation’s economy, then that nation’s commission would step in and decide whether the government should implement a new antitrust law to protect their economy. After this decision, the national commission would consider whether the company was anti-competitive internationally and, if so, move the case to the global commission to rule on whether the company has too much of an effect on not only a national scale but a global one as well.

The monopolization of large technology companies is a dangerous and central issue in our society today. Through large-scale online platforms and collaboration with targeted in-store businesses, these enterprises have the ability to close local stores, leading to a lack of corporate competition, an increase in unemployment, and a disregard for consumers’ needs. Ultimately, if the government and people do not work to implement new antitrust laws to control concentration of economic power, companies will continue to exercise their influence upon national governments and the global economy.

Featured Image by Elisabeth Hall ’18