Wednesday , September 23 2020

For a takeover of GAFA

Delivered. That was twenty years ago. Google and Amazon were start-ups, Facebook didn't exist, and Apple was starting its second life with the return of Steve Jobs. Two decades later, GAFA (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple) are among the most powerful companies in the world, with stock market valuations that regularly exceed $ 1,000 billion. Their grip on the economy is steadily increasing, as these companies built around digital technologies provide, partly “for free”, high-quality services that have become essential to consumers and businesses.

At first we were dazzled by the novelty and almost magical quality of the offer. The fascination was followed by astonishment, then by incomprehension and fear. Without effective checks and balances, the GAFA “Vassalize European companies (but not only), sterilize innovation and competition by creating a world where data and algorithms rule their profits. They are rich, powerful, fascinating, opaque and very influential. They have become dangerous ”, slice Joëlle Toledano in GAFA. Take back the power! (Odile Jacob).

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How did GAFA manage to grow so quickly? How did we allow such empires with limitless ambitions to be formed? In her essay, the emeritus professor of economics associated with the Governance and Regulation chair at Paris-Dauphine University shows that the regulation of digital giants is possible and necessary. We must give ourselves the intellectual and political means. “Our institutions and our law must imperatively be adapted to the XXIe century, otherwise these new empires, the GAFA, will become the great organizers of our society. “

Highly effective lobbying

The power of these firms should not be minimized: economic of course, but also the power of influence and seduction. The GAFA have not only immense resources, but also the conviction of their efficiency and their superiority.

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Bright minds, their leaders lobby very effectively to defend the absence of regulation in the name of innovation, and put forward two formidable assets to defend themselves: “The status of national champion of an America of contested leadership, and the satisfaction of consumers, almost all of us. The fact that many services are free will very likely be used to ridicule and disqualify any regulation aimed at controlling them and allowing the emergence of competitors. “

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