Should we break up Amazon and Facebook? Columbia Law School academic fellow Lina Khan, who wrote the impactful “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox” for The Yale Law Journal, joins Verge editor-in-chief Nilay Patel to discuss whether Amazon and Facebook should be broken up and what it might look like if that were to happen.
You can listen to their discussion about the case for breaking up Amazon and Facebook in its entirety on The Vergecast right now. Below is a lightly edited excerpt from the interview.
Nilay Patel: You wrote a paper for Yale Law Review called “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox.” Walk us through the argument you made there.
Lina Khan: Sure, so the argument I made was that Amazon is a really elegant illustration of how the current framework in antitrust, the consumer welfare framework, really fails to capture forms of market power and forms of dominance that should be relevant to antitrust and do raise competition concerns. And so I was writing about Amazon because I think aspects of Amazon’s business strategy, specific practices that it used to become as dominant as it is, are a really useful vessel for talking about these broader shifts in antitrust. And so, you know, before I went to law school I was a journalist and a policy researcher and had spent some time interviewing the merchants that sell on Amazon. Just to try and understand it. You know, what are the business practices here? What are the contractual terms? What are the kind of day-to-day reality for these millions of merchants that feel dependent on Amazon, right?