Crash Course Economics

Platforms and the limits of Competition Policy — with Farwa Sial

May 24, 2021 Farwa Sial Season 3 Episode 3
Crash Course Economics
Platforms and the limits of Competition Policy — with Farwa Sial
Show Notes Chapter Markers

In this third episode, we discussed the challenges that Big Tech confronts us with in terms of regulation. The platform economy has fundamentally changed our societies and has made more and more citizens dependent on less and less companies. Due to lobbying efforts as well as ignorance and incompetence on many policy levels, this sector has massively expanded without much government oversight. The US has started talking about splitting up Facebook, but critics warn that this is not sufficient.

Farwa Sial zoomed in on the regulatory problems and trends that intellectual monopolies and the platform economy have raised. We asked her:

  • How has the lack of data regulation enabled the rise of Big Tech?
  • Why are the current competition policy frameworks falling short of regulating intellectual monopolies?
  • What kind of regulation do we need to regain control and empower the public domain?

Farwa Sial is a Senior Policy and Advocacy Officer in Development Finance at Eurodad and a Research Fellow at the Global Development Institute (GDI) University of Manchester. She is the steering group member of Diversifying and Decolonising Economics (D-econ) and the Association of Heterodox Economics. Her research focuses on comparative development, Industrial policy, corporations and the evolving dynamics of late-capitalism in the context of financialization and technological development. 

Twitter @farwasial


About Crash Course Economics

Crash Course is a platform designed to open up debate on how we can move out of the current crisis and make the necessary steps towards achieving social, economic, ecological and regenerative justice.

Crash Course is inviting global experts to break down complex issues in lay terms and make them accessible to all so that we can understand how to shape our economic system for a just recovery and future.


Music credit: "Capital G" by Nine Inch Nails, "Tribal Remix" by Imnotlouis (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US) 

Start of the presentation by Farwa Sial on ‘Platforms and the Limits of Competition Policy’.
A brief overview of competition policy
What is different about contemporary tech monopolies?
Intellectual Monopolies in an era of Platformisation
Recent developments in EU Competition Policy (Digital Markets Act 2021)
The DMA 2021 and Rent-Seeking Platforms
Strengths and Limitations
Strengths and Limitations 28:52 Q&A: On the need for global regulation, and the ‘waterbed effect’
Q&A: Why the WTO makes developing countries worse off
Q&A: On the new regulatory approach on intelelectual monopolies that dominate infrastructure
Q&A: On prevention and splitting Big Tech Companies as a solution
Q&A: On Categorising Platforms as Public Utilites Companies, and who to execute this
Q&A: On restricting business practices resulting from international competion agreement
Q&A: Are there positive alternatives that challenge the Big tech platforms?
Q&A: Make the companies public services? Are there any other choices?
Wrap up and the question from Farwa to next Speaker Nandini Chami