President Joe Biden signed a new executive order on Friday aimed at tackling anti-competitive practices in big tech, labor and numerous other sectors.
“Capitalism without competition is not capitalism. It's exploitation, "Biden said in a speech ahead of the signing of the directive at the White House.
The comprehensive arrangement, which includes 72 measures and recommendations involving more than a dozen federal agencies, is intended to reshape thinking around corporate consolidation and antitrust laws, according to a White House leaflet.
These broad goals and initiatives include:
Urging the Federal Trade Commission to "question previous bad mergers" that let previous governments slide urge FTC to ban restrictions on permits on the grounds that they "hamper economic mobility." Encourage FTC to allow non-compete agreements Prohibit or Restrict Federal Communications Commission encouragement to restore "net neutrality" "Rules Revoked During Trump Administration Requiring FCC to Block Exclusivity Agreements Between Landlords and Broadband Providers Lowering Prescription Drug Prices through Supporting Efforts by States and Tribes." To import cheaper drugs from Canada Allow over-the-counter sales of hearing aids Set up a "White House Competition Council" to lead federal responses to the growing economic power of large corporations
"The impetus for this executive order is really where we can encourage more competition across the board," said White House chief economic adviser Brian Deese, Ylan Mui of CNBC in an exclusive interview aired early Friday morning.
Through its technology-related measures, Biden's arrangement aims to ensure that the largest companies in the industry exercise their power to displace smaller competitors and exploit consumers' personal information.
The regulation calls on regulators to undertake a number of reforms, including increased scrutiny of technology mergers and a greater focus on maneuvers like "killer acquisitions" where companies buy smaller brands to take them off the market.
The tightened grip of the technology giants has led to a decline in innovation, Deese told Mui.
These platforms have "caused significant problems," Deese said. These include "privacy and security issues for users" and "small business entry issues," he said.
The executive order "is not just about monopolies," said Deese, "but about consolidation in general and the lack of competition among a limited number of market participants."
He noted that some research suggests that wages are lower in more concentrated markets that are dominated by only a handful of companies. A White House factsheet cites a May 2020 Journal of Human Resources paper that based on data from CareerBuilder.com, it found that market consolidation points to a double-digit percentage decline in wages.
The order was announced just weeks after the House Justice Committee voted for six antitrust laws to reinvigorate competition in the technology sector.
The draft laws that would make it more difficult for dominant companies to complete mergers and forbid certain common business models for such companies have been significantly pushed back by those concerned that they will not go far enough or will have unintended side effects.
In late June, a judge dismissed complaints from the Federal Trade Commission and a group of attorneys-general alleging that Facebook illegally maintained monopoly power.
Biden's executive order also calls on the FTC to enact new rules for Big Tech's data collection and user monitoring practices, and calls on the agency to ban certain unfair competition practices in internet marketplaces.
The arrangement could provide some relief to small and medium-sized businesses that have complained about the alleged crippling grip of tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google on the digital markets.
Biden's executive ordinance does not unilaterally impose its will on big tech companies, instead often urging independent agencies to take action.
But the new FTC chairman Lina Khan, a Biden-appointed person who, at 32, was the youngest person to ever hold the role when she was sworn in last month, already has a reputation for being a vocal advocate of reform and tightening Developed regulations for technology giants.
Amazon is demanding that Khan be excluded from ongoing investigations into his business, arguing that it lacks impartiality and alleging that it has repeatedly said the company is "guilty of antitrust violations and should be liquidated."
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