THE ROLE OF REGULATION v THE ROLE OF POWER

Whilst I am aware that the Royal Commission was released this week given its content and the extent to which there is significant other commentary available to digest I am leaving that to one side for now.

Of greater interest today though are the observations that have come out of Germany in regard to Facebook and the German concern that the consolidation of data is effectively providing the organisation with an incredible level power over the market. A level of power that the German Government is now becoming uncomfortable with.

Capitalists will argue that governments should never hinder business but should simply ensure that there are appropriate systems available within the market place to enable business to operate freely and grow essentially almost without any form of restriction or limitation. In many ways this process has been the case and most if not all governments have stepped back to allow this to happen and in fact divested many previously traditional government operations into private hands, either in partnership or out-rightly to the private sector.

However with the influx of advancing computerisation, the exponential use of algorithms, the increase of robotics and artificial intelligence many of these private entities have grown exponentially to a point where they can exert almost unimaginable levels of control and influence across the market. Not just the local market but also the world market.

This has occurred under the noses of regulators and they are now grappling with the complexities of reasserting control. Germany is not the only one in such a situation, every Revenue Office is increasingly working to track down profits to be taxed, the British Government is taking on the large advisory firms and the Americans are trying to harness Chinese electronics giants. It’s almost all on for young and old!

Where should the power rest, with the strongest, with the government, with the biggest, for all, for some, with the fair or with the greedy, with the fastest gun, or the biggest brute, but genuinely, with control or is it with no control. This will be one of the real issues for the future.

There is much talk of a correction soon, when, well just soon. The talk is all about a financial correction, but is there a possibility it could be more? Is there going to be a control change, not in relation to super powers, albeit this is somewhere on the horizon. No is it a change in the nature of control, is the future going to be led by big corporates, with governments playing tag, or will governments retain and possibly even strengthen their role and control.

An interesting quandary, … certainly food for thought!