March 22, 2019

Whether or not she is a successful candidate for president, Elizabeth Warren is already The Economics Professor-in-Chief. Here she explains to Ali Velshi in under two minutes, why Amazon is guilty of unfair business practices:

ELIZABETH WARREN: So think of a company like Amazon. You know, everybody goes to buy and sell on Amazon. That's the platform. And then Amazon does something really special. They not only run the platform. They gather information from every one of those transactions: every buyer, every seller. And then they discover that Pete's Pet Pillows is making a big profit and Amazon looks at that and says, 'Hmm, we could do that.' So what do they do? They jump in front of Pete's pet pillows, move Pete back to page 6 on your search, jump in and take the profits for themselves. Now, my view on this is you can be the umpire. That is, you can run the platform, or you can have a team in the game. That is, you can be one of the competitors buying and selling on that platform. But you don't get to do both at the same time. Because if you're doing both at the same time, it's wiping out competition. It's why a lot of investors now in tech, the early investors, they refer to the zones around companies like Amazon and Google. They call it "the dead zone" because it means somebody starts to grow a business in there, then Amazon, Google, Facebook just reaches out and snatches up the business. And that's not -- that doesn't promote competition. So I think they ought to be broken apart. Run that platform. You can still go online and search for 28 coffeemakers that can be delivered in 24 hours. But break that up from the part about running a business that competes on that platform.

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