The New Goliaths How Corporations Use Software to Dominate Industries, Kill Innovation, and Undermine Regulation James Bessen

Publication date:
12 Jul 2022
Yale University Press
272 pages: 235 x 156mm
8 b-w illus.

An approach to reinvigorating economic competition that doesn’t break up corporate giants, but compels them to share their technology, data, and knowledge

Historically, competition has powered progress under capitalism. Companies with productive new products rise to the top, but sooner or later, competitors come along with better innovations and disrupt the threat of monopoly. Dominant firms like Walmart, Amazon, and Google argue that this process of “creative destruction” prevents them from becoming too powerful or entrenched.
Documenting how the threat of competition has sharply decreased over the past twenty years, this book describes the ways today’s corporate giants have come to power through the use of proprietary information technologies, creating an unlevel playing field. This development has increased economic inequality and social division, slowed innovation, and allowed dominant firms to evade government regulation. In the face of increasing calls to break up the largest companies, James Bessen argues that a better way to restore competitive balance and dynamism is to encourage or compel these companies to share technology, data, and knowledge.

James Bessen is executive director of the Technology and Policy Research Institute at the Boston University School of Law. He is the author of Learning by Doing: The Real Connection between Innovation, Wages, and Wealth. He lives in Harpswell, ME.