September 22, 2019

In Praise of Big Business

“Democrats and Republicans seem to have irreconcilable views on economics, but on one point they agree: Small business is better than big. Big tech companies “squash small businesses and innovation,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren claimed this month as she called for antitrust action a gainst Amazon, Facebook and Google. In a speech last June called “Small Business Drives Our Economy,” Sen. Ted Cruz complained that federal bureaucrats “hammer the living daylights out of small businesses.”

Rob Atkinson, 64, is a mild-mannered Canadian-American economist, but he vigorously dissents from this consensus. The founder and president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, he challenges the notion that small firms drive the economy and labor market and makes the case that business behemoths are “more efficient, more productive, but also more innovative.” Big business, he says, benefits employees and consumers in ways small companies are unable to match.

When reporters phoned Mr. Atkinson seeking comment on Mrs. Warren’s antitrust plan, he called it “appalling.” When I meet him at his office, he’s spent a weekend meditating on the new push for antitrust. His first point is to recast giant firms as a consequence of technology, rather than anticompetitive tactics.”

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