Momentum is gathering for government action to break up the world's largest tech companies.

As in the gilded age a century ago, the tech industry epitomizes capitalism run amok, with huge concentrations of wealth, power, and control over key markets, like search (Google), cellphone operating systems (Apple and Google), and social media (Facebook/Instagram).

We have been accustomed to think of technology entrepreneurs as bold, risk-taking individuals who thrive on competition but now we know that it is more accurate to see them as oligarchs ruling over an industry ever more concentrated, centrally controlled and hierarchical. Rather than idealistic newcomers, they increasingly reflect the worst of American capitalism--squashing competitors, using indentured servants from abroad, colluding to fix wages, and dodging taxes while creating ever more social anomie and alienation.

Trust-busting has appeal that crosses the ideological spectrum -- monopolies enhance inequality and make us poorer, and simultaneously corrupt and undermine our government.

Others, such as centrist Michael Lind, suggest that if these are in fact natural monopolies, it would be best that they be regulated as such, much as we have seen in markets such as electricity and water. Whatever the kind of poison being prescribed, the oligarchs have generated a remarkable range of enemies.

I would prefer break-up to regulation like a utility, but there's no doubt that change is coming.

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