[Doctorow-L] "Steering With the Windshield Wipers": why nothing we're doing to fix Big Tech is working

Cory Doctorow doctorow at craphound.com
Tue May 7 02:58:47 EDT 2019

My latest Locus column is "Steering with the Windshield Wipers," and it
ties together the growth of Big Tech with the dismantling of antitrust
law (which came about thanks to Robert Bork's bizarre alternate history
of antitrust, a theory so ridiculous that it never would have gained
traction except that it promised to make rich people a lot richer).

The problems of Big Tech are almost all the results of how big they are,
not the fact that they're doing tech. But all of our regulatory
responses to Big Tech -- copyright filters, automated moderation laws,
etc -- are about specifying the technology that these companies must
use, not making the companies smaller so that their mistakes don't carry
so much weight and so that their self-interested preferences aren't so
readily turned into laws.

40 years ago, Robert Bork and Ronald Reagan ripped the steering wheel
out of our industrial policy's vehicle and since then, we've been
"steering" with everything else, because that's all we have. But just
the windshield wipers work and the steering wheel doesn't, it doesn't
follow that the wipers can steer the car.


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