Gus Rossi
Principal, Beneficial Technology

Why We are Investing in the Anti-Monopoly Fund

October 17, 2019

Decades of deregulation and lax antitrust enforcement have created a massive market concentration problem in the American economy. A handful of firms control virtually all economic sectors, and this is leading to greater inequality, lower wages, and less innovation. This trend is increasingly obvious in the tech sector, where a small number of dominant companies have accumulated an unprecedented amount of knowledge and power. Unchecked, their practices are a threat to our individual freedoms, the competitiveness of our markets, and our democracies. That’s why Omidyar Network is investing in organizations that check the power of big tech companies.
 
Open Markets Institute is normalizing conversations in both the public and congressional spheres about the harms created by tech giants. Public Knowledge is conducting expert research and in-depth evidence-gathering on the specific harms produced by tech giants. And at Yale’s Thurman Arnold Project, Dr. Fiona Scott Morton is studying competition and antitrust issues in digital marketplaces, developing new theories, and producing specific policy proposals. We partnered with these organizations and individuals because we believe in greater platform accountability. When billions of lives are adversely impacted, we must ensure that there are adequate checks and balances. Right now, we don’t have them. 

The Anti-Monoply Fund

Ensuring that we hold harmful practices to account, and create meaningful checks and balances, requires a big vision and broad-based collaboration. Together with the Ford Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, Hewlett Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Knight Foundation, Way to Win, and Justice Catalyst, we are thrilled to announce our support of the Anti-Monopoly Fund (AMF), a new initiative led by Chris Hughes’ Economic Security Project

In its first phase, the AMF will mobilize at least $10 million to build a robust anti-monopoly ecosystem. It will catalyze legal and economic research, lead campaigns to organize against tech power, and change the narrative through powerful stories that motivate and engage consumers. While the AMF launches its effort with big tech in its crosshairs, it will also broaden the anti-monopoly movement to address other sectors of the economy. 
 
The time for us to act is now. Each day, we have new evidence of how the tech giants addictive platforms’ feed us radicalizing content, distort markets and misguide investors and entrepreneurs by lying about key viewership metrics, and systemically put profits over democratic values and tolerance. By investing in the AMF, we are affirming our commitment to reigning in the power of big tech and other dominant industries. 
 
But we do so in the knowledge that there is no single silver bullet solution. We will need to support a diversified set of solutions to harness the power of technology so that it works for people and democratic societies, and not the other way around.
 
To learn more about the AMF please read this recent article in the Washington Post

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