This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures
Click here to view on the original site: Original Post
I am headed to the University of Chicago the next two days. They are hosting a conference on data privacy and security. There is a large debate in the US right now about whether to regulate, or not to regulate digital companies like Facebook and Google. Both left wing and right wing politicians are advocating for regulation.
My gut tells me not to regulate.
Professor Luis Zingales is running the conference. If you click the link I posted above, you can see the agenda and who is speaking. For example, the co-founder of Facebook, Chris Hughes, is speaking. Recently, he published an article advocating for the breakup of Facebook. I am interested in what he has to say, and to understand how he is framing the issue. Is he seeing something that I am not?
Zingales recently wrote a book I just finished. It’s and I think no matter where you lie on the political spectrum, you will find it interesting. It’s called A Capitalism For the People, Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity. The book doesn’t sit comfortably in the right/left wing. But, it’s pretty clear when big government and big corporates work together and combine, entrepreneurs and American citizens lose out. That doesn’t fit well with either political parties policy positions today as neither of them is “pro-market”, and for the sort of intense competition that forged the America we have today.
I have conservative friends that want to regulate Big Tech because they discriminate in their business practices and in their personnel practices against conservatives. I don’t disagree that there is discrimination but it’s not like Jim Crow. It’s more like the discrimination that the American Mainstream Media complex has practiced for generations. Although now it is more vociferous, and outward.
Zingales conclusions are unsettling. We need to act now if we want to stop the forces that are working to complete the change from competitive economy to crony capitalist society. Crony capitalism exists on both the left and the right. Members of both parties cannot sit smugly in their seats and think it’s the other guy leading us down the path.
I also am looking for an edge. Am I going to learn something that will give me the insight to invest in a company that can take advantage of the market? If I have more information than the market, I might see things in a different light. Will I learn something that might help me work with existing portfolio companies so they can take advantage? Will I learn something that might help me make an investment into a public stock or ETF that can get a nice above market return? You don’t know unless you go and listen.