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The following article is an extract from Don’t Be Evil: How Big Tech Betrayed Its Founding Principles – and All of Us by Rana Foroohar
It’s no secret that the concentration of market power has been rising in numerous industries over the past few decades, a trend that has been linked to everything from growing income inequality to slower economic growth to a surge in political populism.
[Over] 80 percent of corporate wealth [is] now being held by just about 10 percent of companies. And these [aren’t] the firms that [own] the most physical assets or commodities […]. Rather, they [are] those that [have] figured out how to leverage the new “oil” of our economy – information and networks. Many of these new superstars [are] technology companies. The tech industry provides the starkest illustration of the rise in monopolistic power in the world today.
[This] raises the question: How did we get here? How did an industry that had once been scrappy, innovative, and optimistic become, in the span of just a few decades insular, and out of touch with society? How did we get from a world where “information wants to be free” to one in which data exists to be monetized? How did a movement built on the goal of democratising information come to be such a threat to the very fabric of our democracy? And how did its leaders go from tinkering with motherboards in their basements to dominating our political economy?
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