The great thing about her book is that it breaks the mesmerising spell that the tech giants seem to have cast upon governments, mass media and users everywhere. The beginning of wisdom in this matter is to realise that Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Microsoft, Uber et al are just very large corporations that do what corporations have done from time immemorial – exploit resources in order to generate profit. The only differences between them and the corporate giants of old are the nature of the resources they have appropriated and the grotesque profit margins that they obtain.
The world has never witnessed monopolies this powerful or this diverse. Like many commentators, Foroohar has concluded that the tech giants must be broken up, like the rail monopolies of America’s Gilded Age. Whether this is possible in the face of the political, commercial, legal and intellectual power of Silicon Valley remains to be seen. I’m not optimistic. Bezos’s next ambition is to conquer space. Cue the Imperial March.