CH 8 Ethical, Social, and Political Issues in E-commerce
1. How does the first era of antitrust thinking (1890-1950s) differ from the second era?
The idea behind the antitrust in 1890-1950s was to restrain, and if needed, break up the industrial giants of 19th and 20th centuries. It was enforced to make ensure that small firms and entrepreneurs could enter a market, to protect consumers from exorbitant prices, and restrain free trade.
The antitrust thinking in the 1960s changed due to economic and political reasons. During that period, the economic power was not seen as anti-competitive, but instead was believed to lead to greater efficiency and lower prices for consumers. Larger firms could buy out or merge with others to take over the market.
2. What is a "natural monopoly" and how has the United States dealt with natural monopolies?
Natural Monopolies were considered dominants firms that captured large share of a market, had very large initial capital investments with small rewards in short term. For example, electrical and gas utilities, telephone and cable systems, and railroads all have large investments and capture big portion of the market. Natural monopolies create barriers to entry because of the investments size needed. Since all the monopoly firms can control prices and quality of products or services, the government decided to step in and create regulations that would keep the firms in place.
3. What are three possible solutions to the market dominance and anti-competitive behavior of Facebook, Google, and Amazon?
The first possible solution is to
increase the review of proposed mergers with a view to protection innovative
small forms from purchase if they result simply in the dominant firm gaining
larger audiences and capturing more of the consumers’ time.
Second solution would be to split them up into stand-alone independent companies. For example, since amazon offers many services that are different (amazon music, video, products, etc.) they all can be stand-alone companies.
The thirds solution would be to follow European example of dealing with Big Tech firms – pursuing regulatory model in areas like antitrust, privacy, and taxation.
4. How does the European model of antitrust differ from the American model?
The European model of antitrust prevents abuse of power in its own way. The European model is similar to the earlier period of American antitrust legislation, that looked at the structure of market and competition, not just the consumers. European model focuses on anti-competitive behavior and use of big fines for violation of competitive laws and regulations.
Projects p. 590
Question 1: Go to Google and find the Advanced Search link. Examine its Safe Search filtering options. Surf the Web in search of content that could be considered objectionable for children using each of the options. What are the pros and cons of such restrictions? Are there terms that could be considered inappropriate to the filtering software but be approved by parents? Name five questionable terms. Prepare a brief presentation to report on your experiences and to explain the positive and negative aspects of such filtering software.
Question 2: Develop a list of privacy protection features that should be present if a website is serious about protecting privacy. Then, visit at least four well-known web sites and examine their privacy policies. Write a report that rate seach of the websites on the criteria you have developed.