Democrats Need to Tame the Facebook Monster They Helped Create

Breaking up the social networking behemoth is one option. But first, Democrats need to start pointing the finger at regulators who won’t admit there’s a problem. (Politico Magazine)

If you are thinking about Facebook or questions of political economy, an important and telling hearing took place recently in the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Democratic leaders Frank Pallone and Jan Schakowsky did an oversight review of Facebook’s regulator, the Federal Trade Commission, with all five commissioners, including Chairman Joe Simons, advancing ideas on how to address privacy rules in America today.

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When American Capitalism Meant Equality

Americans used to have a relatively egalitarian view of markets. How did they come to accept extreme inequality as an innate part of their economic system? At the heart of this change is a radical shift in the meaning of American capitalism itself. (ProMarket blog)

American capitalism used to mean economic equality and security. When I mention this in speeches or talks today, this observation prompts laughter, or outright disbelief. But it’s true. Americans used to believe economic equality was foundational to our political system. That America—at least for those considered citizens—carried with it an implicit promise of rough commercial equality. How did this notion change so radically?

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Facebook is violating our privacy. Where are the cops?

A company whose motto has been ‘Move Fast and Break Things’ cannot be relied upon to admit wrongdoing (The Guardian)

2011, the Federal Trade Commission settled charges with Facebook that the social networking giant “deceived consumers by telling them they could keep their information on Facebook private, and then repeatedly allowing it to be shared and made public”. Today, the company is again in hot water for, among other things, misusing private user data, failing to stop the spread of fake news and enabling the distribution of toxic and violent multimedia.

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No More Payoffs For Layoffs

Corporate mergers are bad news for the thousands of workers who lose their jobs. It’s a different story for the CEOs who can earn hundreds of millions of dollars from the deals. (Buzzfeed)

We are in the midst of a massive merger wave. Since the late 1990s, the number of major airlines has dropped from seven to four, and the number of major car rental companies has fallen from eight to three. There have been so many mergers over the past twenty years that the Wilshire 5000, a common stock index, contains only 3,500 firms, because there aren’t enough eligible companies.

There are many reasons for this, but a key one often goes overlooked. Executives and bankers are paid a lot of money when they sell firms, regardless of whether it’s a good idea. If Congress wants to reduce unnecessary mergers, stopping these kickbacks is an important way to do it.

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