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How Big-Tech Barons Smash Innovation—And How to Strike Back

June 27, 2022

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Two market experts deconstruct the drivers and inhibitors to innovation in the digital economy, explain how large tech companies can stifle disruption, assess the toll of their technologies on our well-being and democracy, and outline policy changes to take power away from big tech and return it to entrepreneurs.

Silicon Valley’s genius combined with limited corporate regulation promised a new age of technological innovation in which entrepreneurs would create companies that would in turn fuel unprecedented job growth. Yet disruptive innovation has stagnated even as the five leading tech giants, which account for approximately 25 percent of the S&P 500’s market capitalization, are expanding to unimaginable scale and power. In How Big-Tech Barons Smash Innovation—and How to Strike Back, Ariel Ezrachi and Maurice E. Stucke explain why this is happening and what we can do to reverse it.

While many distrust the Big-Tech Barons, the prevailing belief is that innovation is thriving online. It isn’t. Rather than disruptive innovations that create significant value, we are getting technologies that primarily extract value and reduce well-being. Using vivid examples and relying on their work in the field, the authors explain how the leading tech companies design their sprawling ecosystems to extract more profits (while crushing any entrepreneur that poses a threat). As a result, we get less innovation that benefits us and more innovations that surpass the dreams of yesteryears’ autocracies. The Tech Barons’ technologies, which seek to decode our emotions and thoughts to better manipulate our behavior, are undermining political stability and democracy while fueling tribalism and hate.

But it’s not hopeless. The authors reveal that sustained innovation scales with cities not companies, and that we, as a society, should profoundly alter our investment strategy and priorities to certain entrepreneurs (“Tech Pirates”) and cities’ infrastructure.



Ariel Ezrachi is the Slaughter and May Professor of Competition Law at the University of Oxford, a fellow of Pembroke College, and the director of the Oxford Centre for Competition Law and Policy. He is the co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Antitrust Enforcement (OUP), and author of numerous books on competition policy. He is routinely involved in policy debates on competition and the digital economy and has consulted and provided expert reports to enforcement agencies, public bodies and international organizations, including the European Commission, the European Consumer Organization (BEUC), United Nations, OECD, and World Bank.

Maurice E. Stucke is the Douglas A. Blaze Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee. With 25 years of experience handling a range of policy issues in both private practice and as a prosecutor at the U.S. Department of Justice, he advises governments, law firms, consumer groups, and multi-national firms on competition and privacy issues. He testified before, and provided expert reports for, multiple governments and inter-governmental agencies, including Congress, the European Commission, United Nations, OECD, and World Bank. He has authored and co-authored four other books, including Breaking Away: How to Regain Control Over Our Data, Privacy, and Autonomy

Their joint research, including their books—Competition Overdose and Virtual Competition—have been featured in numerous media outlets, including the Atlantic, BBC, Bloomberg, CNBC, CNNMoney, the Economist, Financial Times, Forbes, Fortune, Fox News, the Guardian, Harvard Business Review, Hong Kong Radio, MIT Technology Review, New Scientist, the New York Times, The New Yorker, Politico, Science, Times Higher Education, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, and Wired.


The books for this giveaway are being provided by Harper Business, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. We have 20 copies available. The giveaway ends on Monday, July 4th. 

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