Case Study Questions

1. How does the first era of antitrust thinking (1890–1950s) differ from the second era?

 

The first era of antitrust thinking took a broader approach on how to view companies and their influences within the markets and toward the customers. The second era of antitrust thinking contrasts the first era by taking a narrow approach in viewing how companies influence the markets. The second era view sees larger corporations as providing a service to customers by creating efficiency and lower price structures. This is in direct contrast with the first era thinking. The first era thinking considers the social and economic impact that larger companies and mergers have on the overall market. This line of thinking tries to keep the marketplace open for small startups to be able to gain a foothold and flourish. The broader view also helped to limit how much control a company could have over any particular sector and would not let a company consolidate several sectors to gain an edge in controlling market shares.

 

2. What is a “natural monopoly” and how has the United States dealt with natural monopolies?

 

A natural monopoly is a market that requires a huge investment with little to no profit to be gained for several years. These form in markets were the initial investment cost is so great that it limits the number of entrants to the market. They are also markets that create tremendous waste if multiple companies put in their own infrastructures to compete in these markets. These markets are railroads, land communications, electric companies, and other such markets. The United States deals with these natural monopolies through regulation. Regulations are put in place to protect the consumers from price gouging and other hostile market practices. The regulations also help to ensure these companies can make a reasonable profit so they can continue to in business as well as maintain and upgrade the infrastructure for their services.

 

3. What are three possible solutions to the market dominance and anti-competitive behavior of Facebook, Google, and Amazon?

The three possible solutions to deal with Facebook, Google, and Amazon are to change how they are viewed, split them into smaller companies, or to regulate them as with other natural monopolies. In changing how these companies are viewed, mergers and acquisitions of other companies would be scrutinized more to ensure that a large company could not be created that would push out or prevent small entrants into the market. The view of splitting the companies up would require that these large companies be broken into several small companies that compete in their respective markets. This would prevent the use of domination from one market to influence and support the domination in another market through using cut pricing and other types of efforts to price out competition. The third solution would require the government to regulate these large companies. This would cause these large companies to be treated like other natural monopolies such as utility companies or railroads. Regulations would help to keep these companies acting in good faith toward its customers.

4. How does the European model of antitrust differ from the American model?

The European model of antitrust takes a broad approach to how it views large companies and their actions within the markets. The American model differs in that the American model had a narrower view and sees many of the actions that the European model discourages as creating efficiency and lower prices. The American model therefor gives less protections to startup companies or other smaller companies trying to compete in the same space as the larger companies. The European model uses regulations to create taxes, limitations, and fines for companies that may violate competitive market values or other anti-competition regulations. The European model tries to view the social good of the whole when setting up and enforcing anti-trust laws where the American model fails to consider the whole.

Projects

 

1. Go to Google and find the Advanced Search link. Examine its SafeSearch 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.

The pros to having a SafeSearch setting is that is can provide some measure of protection to youth from receiving questionable information and websites in search results. This feature helps to bring more information and sites that are geared toward information and education when enabled.

Cons to the SafeSearch setting that there is someone else determining what is safe and what is not. If your child is searching a particular type of material for a project, it may be filtered out because of how the SafeSearch views the material. Another con is that there is no way to differentiate for groups such as a six-year old searching compared to a fourteen-year old. The content for those two groups would vary in what is acceptable or not.

Five terms I used to test this filter were “sex, drugs, porn, adult fetish, and adult film. The results for these terms varied greatly in the type of content that came up. With the filter off, much of the content was geared toward participation compared to the filter on which restricted the promotion and brought more educational content.

4. Review the section on net neutrality and search for two articles that take a position on the topic. Summarize each article and then write an essay describing your own position on net neutrality.

The first article I review was from https://www.publicknowledge.org/issues/net-neutrality/. This article defined what net neutrality is and then went on to give a background of the fight for net neutrality over the years. This article follows the transition of court rulings supporting an open internet on up through the current state of affairs where there is no longer any net neutrality protection.

The second article I reviewed came from https://www.eff.org/issues/net-neutrality. This article chronicled the net neutrality fight just like the other article. Along with the history of net neutrality, this article also promoted the idea that net neutrality is not dead because of current legal challenges to the elimination of prior rulings. The article also takes the position that the net should be neutral and open to all. By keeping the internet open and free, it creates a platform for creation, innovation, and invention that may otherwise be eliminated if net neutrality is not restored.

My view aligns with the desire to keep the internet neutral and free. As our technology pushes forward at a high pace, it is important for everyone to have access to the internet. The net provides access to all manors of services and information that should not be restricted to people by the service providers. Much like telephone and electric companies are regulated to prevent price abuse, I believe service providers should be the same.