2020 National Championship Topic
"Resolved: European Union should enforce antitrust regulations against technology giants."
During American presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren’s bid to become the next President of the United States, she rolled out a controversial plan to enforce antitrust regulations on technology giants, namely FAAMG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Google). This came following a stunning announcement in 2019 when the technology giant Google was hit with a massive €1.5 billion antitrust fine by the European Union. Google was accused of abusing its dominant position in the market and stifling innovation. To date, Google has lost three antitrust rulings which have totaled over $9 billion in fines (although Google is currently seeking to overturn those rulings).
Antitrust, or legislation aimed at curbing monopolies with the intention of fostering increased competition in business, has been around for more than one hundred years, but the concept has taken on renewed urgency in the presence of massive companies dominating the technology sector. At the heart of antitrust lie two basic questions that debaters will have to answer.
One, can 21st century technology giants be considered monopolies? Dominating an industry in market share is not the same as exhibiting monopolistic behavior. Second, when should antitrust laws be enforced to break up monopolies? While answering this question, students will delve into the details of major historical enforcements of antitrust law - from the successful breakup of Standard Oil Co. in 1911 to AT&T in 1982 to the US Justice Department’s failed bid to break up Microsoft Corporation in 2000.
Proponents of antitrust laws say that technology giants have crowded out competition in the tech arena and have committed egregious abuses of power, including violating the privacy rights of individuals, hurting small businesses, and utilizing mergers and proprietary marketplaces to limit competition.
Opponents of antitrust laws argue they actually stifle innovation, that technology giants are unlike the monopolies of the past, and that regulations ultimately hurt consumers. The European Union, in particular, is the center of controversy because of the particular standards they utilize when considering antitrust and because they have enforced such laws against firms that are not based within Europe.
With these arguments in mind, should the European Union enforce antitrust laws against technology giants?
The NHSDLC is excited to announce the following resolution for the 2020 NHSDLC National Championships: The European Union should enforce antitrust regulations on technology giants.