TLDR: Tech’s strategy is scaling manipulated marketplaces

by Anil Dash (these highlights provided for you by Annotote)

These highlights will save you 10 minutes, so take 1 of them to check out Annotote!

The inevitable automated gaming of the early open digital markets inadvertently catalyzed the start of the next era: rigged markets. Google got concerned about nefarious search engine optimization tricks, and kept changing their algorithm, meaning that pretty soon the only web publishers that could thrive were those who could afford to keep tweaking their technology to keep up in this new arms race. After just a few years, this became a rich-get-richer economy

We saw a rapid shift where the companies hosting formerly-open markets started to give themselves unfair advantages that couldn’t be countered by the other sellers in the market.

early adopters get unfair advantages

Consumers can’t trust the information they’re being provided to make a purchasing decision. A single opaque algorithm defines which buyers are matched with which sellers. Sellers have no control over their own pricing or profit margins. Regulators see the genuine short-term consumer benefit but don’t realize the long-term harms [from monopoly powers]. This is, by any reasonable definition, no market at all. One might even call Uber a “Fake Market.”

These pseudo-market patterns also mask patterns of subsidy, like the fact that Uber’s current operations are subsidized by investors to the tune of $2 billion per year. That’s a cost that will be immediately passed along to consumers as soon as Uber succeeds in displacing conventional taxis.

this equates to is an economic transfer from the working class over to urban metropolitan elites

But wait, it gets worse. Next we replace the sellers in the market [e.g. replace Uber drivers with self-driving cars]

Those highlights just saved you 10 minutes, so take 1 of them to check out Annotote!