'How Big Tech Barons Smash Innovation'
Presented by Professor Ariel Ezrachi
The 2022 Baxt Lecture
When we think about the digital economy, many of us immediately think about innovation. After all, there is little doubt as to the significant investments in research and development that are made by leading tech firms. Therein lies a more complex and worrisome tale, in which distortion of innovation, exclusion, and toxicity play a role. The lecture will explore the means through which a few big tech firms, in controlling significant ecosystems, distort the paths of innovation and undermine disruption, to safeguard their own value chains. These strategies not only affect our online environment but result in ripple effects that change the nature of innovation that reaches the market. Many of us already sense that these toxic innovations weaken social cohesion, increase tribalism, and undermine democracy. And yet, current incentives and policies offer limited relief.
In this lecture, Professor Ezrachi will argue that to ensure that innovation delivers on its promise, we must take account of the value of the innovation, acknowledge the incentives at stake, seek to promote the diversity of innovation, and not simply assume that the current toxic innovation trajectory will self-correct.
Professor Ariel Ezrachi
Prof. Ezrachi is the Slaughter and May Professor of Competition Law at the University of Oxford and the Director of the University of Oxford Centre for Competition Law and Policy.
He is the co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Antitrust Enforcement (OUP) and the author, and co-author, of numerous books, including How Big Tech Barons Smash Innovation (HarperCollins, 2022), Competition and Antitrust Law (OUP, 2021), EU Competition law – An Analytical Guide to the Leading Cases (Hart, 2021), Competition Overdose (Harper Collins, 2020), and Virtual Competition (Harvard, 2016).
Professor Ezrachi’s research and commentary have been featured in The Economist, The New Yorker, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, The Guardian, Nikkei, New Scientist, Politico, WIRED, BBC, and other international outlets.