The Takeaway

Politics with Amy Walter: Are Democrats Breaking Up with Big Tech?

What began as a love affair is now a relationship on the rocks. This week on Politics with Amy Walter, a look at the relationship between Democrats and big tech giants like Amazon, Facebook, and Google. 

When it comes to big tech, the conversation has shifted from if they should be regulated to how and by whom. For a long time, these tech giants grew quickly and quietly beyond what many of us could’ve imagined. As a result, incredible wealth and power started to concentrate in Silicon Valley, largely unchecked by Congress.

Tim Wu, the author of The Curse of Bigness and a professor at Columbia University, explains how big tech companies became embedded in the social and economic fabric of our country. Senator Mark Warner is one of a growing number of Democrats who are critical of how much power big tech has amassed, and he shares his ideas on how to rein them in on today’s show. Representative Ro Khanna, the Democrat who represents Silicon Valley in Congress, walks us through the adversarial nature of the relationship between Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C.

Plus, Cecilia Kang, a tech reporter at the New York Times, gives an update on the antitrust investigations going on. Finally, journalist and author Charles Duhigg explains the spectacular growth of Amazon, from its early days as an online retailer to the tech giant it is today. 

The Takeaway

Why People Throw Rocks: A Big Tech Take Down

Click on the audio player above to hear this interview.

Over the last few years, technology employees have overwhelmed the San Francisco Bay Area’s already-fragile housing market. As rents skyrocket, residents frustrated with their changing neighborhoods have targeted the buses that deliver tech employees to and from Silicon Valley, from San Francisco and Oakland.

In his new book, “Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity,” Douglas Rushkoff dissects the protests against those buses, and finds examples of Bay Area frustration throughout the country, where tech companies are growing at all costs—to the detriment, he believes, of CEOs, employees, and communities.

As these companies grow exponentially, Rushkoff says, Americans are taking note, that “all these people are having to drive Uber cars and all these other people are having to rent their apartments on AirBnB.

“People are becoming aware of the fact that the growth of all of these companies is not leading to any sort of participation or distribution of the assets to others,” Rushkoff explains.