Self-Inflicted Technological Suicide

by on January 26, 2023 · 0 comments

The Wall Street Journal has run my response to troubling recent opeds by President Biden (“Republicans and Democrats, Unite Against Big Tech Abuses“) and former Trump Administration Attorney General William Barr (“Congress Must Halt Big Tech’s Power Grab“) in which they both called for European-style regulation of U.S. digital technology markets.

“The only thing Europe exports now on the digital-technology front is regulation,” I noted in my response, and that makes it all the more mind-boggling that Biden and Barr want to go down that same path. “[T]he EU’s big-government regulatory crusade against digital tech: Stagnant markets, limited innovation and a dearth of major players. Overregulation by EU bureaucrats led Europe’s best entrepreneurs and investors to flee to the U.S. or elsewhere in search of the freedom to innovate.”

Thus, the Biden and Barr plans for importing European-style tech mandates, “would be a stake through the heart of the ‘permissionless innovation’ that made America’s info-tech economy a global powerhouse.” In a longer response to the Biden oped that I published on the R Street blog, I note that:

“It is remarkable to think that after years of everyone complaining about the lack of bipartisanship in Washington, we might get the one type of bipartisanship America absolutely does not need: the single most destructive technological suicide in U.S. history, with mandates being substituted for markets, and permission slips for entrepreneurial freedom.”

What makes all this even more remarkable is that they calls for hyper-regulation come at a time when China is challenging America’s dominance in technology and AI. Thus, “new mandates could compromise America’s lead,” I conclude. “Shackling our tech sectors with regulatory chains will hobble our nation’s ability to meet global competition and undermine innovation and consumer choice domestically.”

Jump over to the WSJ to read my entire response (“EU-Style Regulation Begets EU-Style Stagnation“) and to the R Street blog for my longer essay (“President Biden Wants America to Become Europe on Tech Regulation“).

Previous post:

Next post: