The 3 Things You Need To Know From FTC Commissioner Christine Wilson’s Latest Speech
Late last month, FTC Commissioner Christine Wilson gave a speech at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law entitled, “Remembering Regulatory Misadventures: Taking a Page from Edmund Burke to Inform Our Approach to Big Tech.”
Wilson’s speech itself—which draws on lessons learned from failed, heavy-handed regulations on the train and airline industries—is available here, but the top three takeaways are below.
Today’s regulators should not forget lessons learned from past efforts. “Reading the headlines today, I fear that we are forgetting these valuable and hard-won lessons. I am particularly alarmed by some of the more radical calls to regulate Big Tech.”
“Effective regulation requires clarity, particularly regarding the ‘what,’ ‘why,’ and ‘how.'” “Proposed digital regulations are sold to the public as simple and beneficial. Behind the curtain, however, there is little clarity on what the problem is, let alone why a given proposal is the best solution or how the agency would operationalize it. Indeed, we may not even get past the first question, as we need proof that there is a problem – anticompetitive conduct that harms consumers – before proposing a solution.”
Calls to ban top tech firms from participating in the market will reduce competition and increase prices, not vice-versa. “Perhaps worst of all, we are told that banning some firms from the market and imposing strict pricing rules will surely increase competition and reduce prices. These mistaken ideas have all been tried before. I fear that, unless we learn from those mistakes, we are doomed to repeat them.”