Zephyr Teachout on “Break ’Em Up”

Rebecca talks to Zephyr Teachout about her new book “Break ’Em Up: Recovering our Freedom from Big Tech, Big Ag, and Big Money” and why we need an antitrust movement for our time. Subscribe to Off-Kilter on iTunes.

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“Our founders would not bow before a king. Nor should we bow before the emperors of the online economy.”

That’s how Rhode Island Democrat David Cicilline explained a House anti-trust investigation of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google that he kicked off last year in his capacity as Chair of the House Antitrust subcommittee, in a dramatic five-hour hearing last week featuring Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Apple’s Tim Cook, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sundar Pichai. As the Washington Post put it in their coverage of the hearing, all four tech titans, which Rep. Cicilline compared to modern day versions of Gilded Age tycoons: “fiercely defended their businesses Wednesday as rags-to-riches success stories, made possible only through American ingenuity and the sustained support of their ever-growing customer bases.”

For his part, Chair Cicilline and his Democratic colleagues didn’t mince words, concluding that these companies’ “control of the marketplace allows them to do whatever it takes to crush independent businesses and expand their own power” and that “they’re engaged in behavior that’s anticompetitive, which favors their own products and services, which monetizes and weaponizes data, which compromises the privacy of their users and which creates a competitive disadvantage for companies attempting to enter the marketplace.”

As the hearing was taking place, Rebecca sat down with Zephyr Teachout, a professor of law at Fordham University and several times a popular Democratic candidate for elected office in New York State, to talk about her new book, “Break ’em up: Recovering our Freedom from Big Ag, Big Tech, and Big Money,” and why this moment calls for “an anti-trust movement for our time.”

This week’s guest:

* Zephyr Teachout, author, “Break ’em up: Recovering our Freedom from Big Ag, Big Tech, and Big Money”

For more on all this:

* Dig into Zephyr Teachout’s new book

* And here’s more coverage on the House antitrust hearing

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