Another Swiftian Moment? Who Is Working for Whom?

September 21, 2020

I spotted “It’s Ridiculous. Underfunded FTC and DOJ Can’t Keep Fighting the Tech Giants Like This.” The information in the write up may be one of those spontaneous search engine optimization ploys or the work of super-intelligent smart software. To my inexperienced eyes, the write up seems to be semi accurate.

The idea is that “US regulators don’t have enough money to properly check the tech giants.” I would suggest that the revolving door, free logo bedecked mouse pads, and nifty briefings with edible food are also among the reasons.

The write up asserts:

The Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice’s antitrust division have a combined annual budget below what Facebook makes in three days. The FTC runs on less than $350 million per year, the DOJ’s antitrust division on less than $200 million. Facebook made $18 billion last quarter alone. The funding disparity between the tech giants and their regulators leads to an unbalanced fight, current and ex-staffers said: The agencies can’t investigate the tech giants to the extent they’d like.

The write up did not mention taxes, but is that significant? Of course not.

The write up also does not point out that the demographics of staff in some Federal agencies may suggest that the contest between enforcers and the enforced is a bit like the Barcelona soccer team taking on a group of under 12s in a match.

The write up may be getting close to the resource disparity. The larger question may be, “Who is working for whom?”

Stephen E Arnold, September 21, 2020


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