20 votes

Amazon’s Antitrust Antagonist Has a Breakthrough Idea

5 comments

  1. demifiend Link
    If you want to dig into the meat of Lina Khan's work, here's a direct link to her Yale Law Journal article, Amazon's Antitrust Paradox.

    If you want to dig into the meat of Lina Khan's work, here's a direct link to her Yale Law Journal article, Amazon's Antitrust Paradox.

    8 votes
  2. DonQuixote Link
    This article, which is excellent by the way, raises huge issues that have been simmering for a decade now. How does the United States change its policies in a more efficient and faster moving...

    This article, which is excellent by the way, raises huge issues that have been simmering for a decade now. How does the United States change its policies in a more efficient and faster moving world? To me this legal issue is rightly pointing at the legal apparatus as a whole. Ms. Khan goes back to history to underline that the FTC has power to make rules about Federal Trade. It's telling that for decades we've been patiently waiting for changes to flow, like molasses, through judicial precedent.

    It's not simple. Look at how the FCC another government agency has misused its power toward what appear to be partisan motives. Congress needs to take the whole judicial system to task for its snail-like pace in the face of technological change.

    6 votes
  3. [2]
    Luna Link
    Maybe this has been simplified for the general public, but couldn't the same argument be made about store brand items undercutting brand name items? I'm not really understanding the logic here....

    Her Yale Law Journal paper argued that monopoly regulators who focus on consumer prices are thinking too short-term. In Ms. Khan’s view, a company like Amazon — one that sells things, competes against others selling things, and owns the platform where the deals are done — has an inherent advantage that undermines fair competition.

    Maybe this has been simplified for the general public, but couldn't the same argument be made about store brand items undercutting brand name items?

    She also said it “could make sense” to treat Amazon’s e-commerce operation like a bridge, highway, port, power grid or telephone network — all of which are required to allow access to their infrastructure on a nondiscriminatory basis.

    I'm not really understanding the logic here. Retailers should be treated as common carriers? Some curation is necessary to build a brand (though I'd argue Amazon doesn't do enough curation, given the prevalence of counterfeits and knock offs), and I don't think that ability should be taken from Amazon until they start abusing their power. (The article does not say if Amazon has or has not been abusing their power.)

    While I think Amazon has the potential to abuse their position, this feels a bit preemptive. If you went back few decades, you could swap out Amazon for Walmart and get a similar article. And like Walmart, I think Amazon's biggest problems are not how they have taken the retail industry by storm, but how they treat their employees. I think that a better target for antitrust work would be our ISPs, who have repeatedly abused their power and lobbied their way into the FCC. It is certainly nice to see interest in antitrust legislation once again, though I worry this will be a short-lived stint in the spotlight and it will fade back into obscurity by next year.

    3 votes
    1. MimicSquid Link Parent
      As mentioned in the article, one of the first major grocery chains was subject to intense scrutiny for that reason. At the scale of Amazon, where they are functionally THE online storefront for...

      Maybe this has been simplified for the general public, but couldn't the same argument be made about store brand items undercutting brand name items?

      As mentioned in the article, one of the first major grocery chains was subject to intense scrutiny for that reason.

      I'm not really understanding the logic here. Retailers should be treated as common carriers?

      At the scale of Amazon, where they are functionally THE online storefront for the US? Amazon manages 49% of all online sales. They're not talking about doing it to all retailers, but Amazon holds a controlling position in providing goods to the US.

      5 votes