In the wake of President Joe Biden’s sweeping 72-action plan to re-ignite anti-trust enforcement and rein in big business, here are a few interesting stats and ideas that show how far things have swung in favor of big business and big tech in recent decades.
Some of these are from The New Builders, others from the U.S. House of Representatives report on Big Tech from October of last year, and others from the Congressional Budget Office:
• The rate at which firms were created in the U.S. economy decreased from 10 percent of all businesses in 1982 to 8 percent in 2018, and the share of employment belonging to new firms (those less than five years old) fell from 14 percent to 9 percent over that same period.
• In the 1980s, 80% of new locations were startup businesses. Today, 40% are new locations of chain stores.
•The entrepreneurship rate defined as the “ share of startups and young firms” in the high-tech industry as a whole fell from 60 % in 1982 to a low of 38% as of 2011.
• Newspaper employees have seen employment fall by half over a recent eight-year period, from 71,000 in 2008 to 35,000 in 2019. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the total employment of reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts will continue to decline by about 11% between 2019 and 2029.
• Amazon has 2.3 million active third-party sellers on its marketplace worldwide, and a recent survey estimates that about 37% of them—about 850,000 sellers—rely on Amazon as their sole source of income.
• 85% of Americans are concerned—either very concerned or somewhat concerned— about the amount of data online platforms store about them, and 81% are concerned that platforms are collecting and holding this data in order to build out more comprehensive consumer profiles.
Most chilling to me were the sections in the Congressional report that described small business owners’ and workers’ fear of speaking out. They worried about retribution and their livelihoods being destroyed. This is the kind of fear I’ve heard when reporting in countries governed by autocratic regimes. It is no way to live.