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Nick Hanauer: Amazon should face anti-trust scrutiny

Nick Hanauer, co-founder and partner in venture capital firm, Second Avenue Partners joined us at the 2017 Re-wire Policy conference as our morning keynote speaker. His remarks centered on the importance of a vibrant middle class to a successful democracy and economy.

While discussing economic growth and driving innovation, Hanauer pointed to the United States’ lax enforcement of anti-trust laws as a major barrier to widespread innovation.

“There is absolutely no doubt that one of the most corrosive and problematic elements of our present economy is the way in which we walked away from anti-trust enforcement and have allowed economic power to concentrate in few hands,” said Hanauer. “We have created these giant enterprises and these giant industries that exploit people and are essentially immune.”

“If you believe that prosperity comes from increasing amounts of innovation and demand, then you want to find where innovation comes from, and it does not come from giant enterprises; it comes from small businesses. If you want to include people in the economy, then having way more smaller businesses, and fewer giant enterprises is where you want to go.”

When asked if large corporations like Amazon (of which Hanauer was an early investor), Google, or Facebook should come under anti-trust scrutiny, Hanauer responded without hesitation.

“Yes, for sure. Look, there aren’t that many rules that you can extract from human history, but for sure one of them is: concentrated power is never good, right? It just is never good. You want power dispersed. Whether it’s political power or economic power or whatever it is. It never is good for the common good for a few people to have everything, and everyone else to have nothing…I think we should apply anti-trust in a much more aggressive way from the top”

You can watch the entire conversation in the video below.