Friday, November 25, 2022

Silicon Sultans as gatekeepers and controlling innovation

I published a post titled 'Robber Barons & Silicon Sultans: Rockefeller vs Bezos' on February 20.

The original robber barons operated in the Rhine valley, as the river had been Europe’s principal highway for 1,000 years. In the decades after the US Civil War, the American robber barons were industrialists and financiers who amassed huge fortunes by monopolizing key industries by forming trusts and engaging in unethical business practices including fraud.

Today the Big Tech gatekeepers are Apple; Microsoft; Alphabet (Google); Amazon and Meta (Facebook). They operate in most of the world with the main exception being China.

Big Tech firms spent $603bn (Amazon spent $242bn) on innovation in the 11 years 2010-2020 but they also limit competition including copying promising work by young innovators or acquiring them.

Facebook for example copied Snapchat's features after the Snapchat founders rejected Zuckerberg's offer to acquire the site.

In 2021 revenues of the 5 firms were at $1.4tn.

Researchers at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business have said that when a startup was bought by Google or Facebook, VC (venture capital) investments in the same space dropped by 46% in the following three years, and the number of deals by 42%.

Thursday, November 03, 2022

Economic globalization at a crossroads

According to the IMF (International Monetary Fund) economic globalization (or globalisation in British English) "is a historical process, the result of human innovation and technological progress. It refers to the increasing integration of economies around the world, particularly through the movement of goods, services, and capital across borders. The term sometimes also refers to the movement of people (labour) and knowledge (technology) across international borders. There are also broader cultural, political, and environmental dimensions of globalization."

Besides the economic form, cultural and political globalization also exist.

The terms ‘globalize’ and ‘globalism’ were coined in a treatise published in 1944. The noun ‘globalization’ first appeared in Webster’s Dictionary in 1961. Google's Ngram has the term earlier than 1944.

It became popular in the 1980s and in 1983 Theodore Levitt of the Harvard Business School had an article in the Harvard Business Review entitled 'Globalization of markets.'