US Politics and Anti-Trust

The Mint:                     Good afternoon, Tim. And thank you very much for joining The Mint, to talk about competition, and regulation of competition in the digital sphere. I wanted to start with, I suppose the question, does Biden’s win, make any difference to the scene? And his recent appointment of Lina Khan?

Tim Cowen:                  Yeah. I mean, Henry, great to be with you, and good to talk about this. I think there’s a number of different ways of looking at the appointment of Lina Khan. When Lina is actually part of a movement, they’re called the New Brandeis Movement, or what’s also known as, Hipster antitrust.

The Mint:                     Hipster antitrust? I love it.

Tim Cowen:                  It was a pejorative that was put forward by a bunch of people, few years ago now. Trying to say, well, it’s all very trendy, but it’s not very real. It’s all a bit superficial, but it isn’t. I mean, it’s actually quite a fundamental set of people thinking very deeply about what the purpose of antitrust is. And Lina’s famously written articles about Amazon, and what’s known as Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox. But she’s part of this group, mostly in the states, some people here. The New America foundation, Open Markets foundation, I should say. Started as New America, but then became Open Markets foundation, is the heart of it. But what this group of people are really talking about, is the need for markets to fulfil a place in society that allows the social system to function, and work better.

Tim Cowen:                  Why do I say that? Well, over about the past 20 or 30 years, markets have become increasingly concentrated in many industries. It’s not just tech platforms, which is at the forefront of people’s concern, but it’s many different industries. I won’t go through all of them, because The Economist has done that as well, and you can look it up. But there’s a small number of big companies in very large sectors of the economy, and that leads to a wide variety of different problems. And you can extend it well beyond very simple, short term economic and social issues, to broader issues. Lack of opportunity in small businesses, lack of new businesses that are being started up, increasing numbers of exits from markets. All of these things have been charted by economists in the states. From Jason Furman, who originally chaired the Obama administration’s economic council, Council of Economic Advisors.

Tim Cowen:                  And that work has progressed, more people have looked at this. Tommaso Valletti, who was the former chief economist at the European Commission. And there’s a guy called, Jan Eeckhout, who’s written many very influential articles on this. It’s been picked up by as wide ranging economic analysts, at places like The Bank of England, have been concerned about what’s happened to the economy. Why is it important? Well, growth, jobs, people’s life, chances, fulfilment. All of those things are fundamental. And largely, the problem can be laid at the door of small number of big companies, and less small businesses. So Lina’s the spearhead of that. She’s the leader for that, if you like, now, because she’s at the Federal Trade Commission. You’ve got to understand that, well, the Federal Trade Commission, she’s effectively the CEO, when she’s the chair. She’s got a lot of executive responsibility, but it’s still subject to political power and political oversight.

Tim Cowen:                  What is interesting about her appointment, is that she got cross party support [crosstalk]. I can’t remember the numbers off the top of my head, but she got a lot of Republicans, as well as Democrats. So, I think what that reflects is –

The Mint:                     In the senate as well?

Tim Cowen:                  I think the way it works at the Federal Trade Commission is that, you have a hearing and you make your case. You’re nominated by whichever party, and then there is a political element to it. I don’t know whether it’s the Senate or what, I mean, I’m not deeply into the U.S system, but I do know she got cross-party support, which is very important politically.

The Mint:                     Yeah.

Tim Cowen:                  And I think that reflects a wider public concern, that small numbers of big companies, whether that’s oligopoly, monopoly or whatever, it’s regarded as being a big problem. So I think that, that gives her the political weight to go and take cases, and make a difference.

The Mint:                     And can you briefly explain what the Federal Trade Commission does then? What can she actually do?

Tim Cowen:                  Well, I mean, the Federal Trade Commission was set up by Teddy Roosevelt, in the turn of the century. He was the big trust buster. And after Roosevelt, I think Wilson and the succession of presidents, gave it more power. I think it really cumulated with the new deal in the 1930s. And I mean, they can do a wide number of things. They can take cases, it’s subject to court oversight, and they take cases in court. And they have to fulfil the antitrust laws. They have to meet the laws, but they have the power of initiative. And if they find a problem, they can make their case in front of a court, and the court can give orders. They can ultimately push for things to be broken up. It’s really a split jurisdiction with the department of justice. And they allocate cases between them as to who does which sector of the economy mostly.

The Mint:                     And how does that, I suppose what’s particular about the digital space, is the international dimension. Do you think there’s some potential there for collaborations coordination with the European commissioner, in this sort of space?

Tim Cowen:                  I think actually, it’s broader than the commission now. I think the commissions investigations of Google, and Amazon, and most recently, Apple, they were looked at by people in America, with some degree of jealousy. Because there wasn’t much activity really, at the Federal Trade Commission or the Department of Justice. The Trump administration didn’t do very much, and the Obama administration did even less, really. So we’ve had, maybe 20 years, of very limited action. I think every U.S President is always pro business, and anti cartels. But what’s happened in the last 20 years, is an increasing number of smaller numbers of businesses by sector. So it’s become more concentrated, whether that’s monopoly or oligopoly, as I say, that’s a more difficult question. Sometimes it’s more monopolised than others. And sometimes, you can have a situation where you’ve got a small number of big companies that are acting as this conscious oligopoly, where they’re all looking at each other, and they’re not really competing as fiercely as otherwise.

Tim Cowen:                  So, structure matters.

The Mint:                     Yeah.

Tim Cowen:                  And for a long time, I think since, really the early ’80s, the received wisdom in the economics profession is, structure doesn’t matter that much. It’s all about behaviour, it’s all about what’s really going on, is empirically. I think what Lina Khan represents and what the New Brandeis Movement really talks about is, structured really does matter. And Tommaso Valletti is very much on that page, over here. So I think for a while, in the last seven or eight, 10 years, the Americans haven’t done very much. The European Commission has been at the forefront. In the last three years, the European Commission has taken a bit of a backseat frankly, to Germany. I think the Germans have taken the digital economy by the scruff of it’s neck, and taken it on, with cases against Facebook and Amazon.

The UK’s Competition and Market Authority and Google

Tim Cowen:                  And if you’re looking at 2020, who’s in the lead between the different competition authorities, I think it’s now the CMA, here in the UK. So what’s happened? I’ve taken cases in front of the European Commission, but nobody’s moved as quickly as the CMA. The CMA has done a fantastic job in the last year. They’ve opened cases against Google, following their, they did a market inquiry last year, which was focusing on Google and Facebook. They’ve opened a case against Google, which last Friday, there was published commitments from Google to resolve the case. They’re not quite there yet, but they’re a very good step in the right direction. They’re groundbreaking, in terms of the relationship between the competition authority, and the dominant platform. Because it puts –

The Mint:                     How is it groundbreaking?

Tim Cowen:                  What it does is, it puts the CMA in control of Google’s changes of the browser.

Tim Cowen:                  What Google was going to do, was to make changes to the browser, which would affect everybody’s ability to see anything online. Because what’s not perhaps well known, just a piece of fact for you, rather than policy or organisation. But any part of the internet, you typically will go through Safari if you’re on an Apple phone, and you go through Google. Because the default setting for search, is Google. If you’re on Android, it’s owned by Google, you go through Google, there isn’t a choice. In practise, there isn’t much choice at all. If you were to say to me, but yeah Tim, what about, Microsoft on my desktop? I’m going through Internet Explorer. You’re not anymore. You’re going through Edge, which is powered by, run by, owned by Google, because it’s the chromium search engine. So apart from Mozilla, which is a separate browser, which also uses Google, all roads tend to lead to Google. So you’ve got that fundamental problem. And the fact that the CMA is overseeing the browser and the system that’s being operated, is really a breakthrough. And Google is willing to accept that.

The Mint:                     Overseeing? What does that mean? Overseeing?

Tim Cowen:                  Well, what they are going to be able to do, is to block changes to the browser, that would affect competition. And it’s working closely with the ICO, which would affect user privacy as well. So, the jury is out on whether it’s working yet, because it’s only just been announced. And there’s a consultation period, which closes on the 8th of July. We’re obviously putting submissions in. We act for a consortia of, I would say, victims. Those businesses that are affected by online abuse. So, Google has been, it’s actions typically, will have an anti-competitive effect.

The Mint:                     Can you give us a specific example?

Tim Cowen:                  There’s so many. So what Google has been found to have done, is to abuse its dominant position in search. What it does is, it promotes it’s own products further up the rankings, than those of others. So as an example, when you’re searching for a product that’s a price comparison product, google will put Google shopping, which is, if you like an online store, at the top of the ranking. And you’ll get a price for it. Let’s say it’s a Nikon camera or, the other example which we use is, cuisine or home cookware. If you’re looking at these things where you’re shopping around for them, which outlet you go to, that’s effectively managed by Google. And what you see, is managed by Google. And that’s true I think, of news. So, Google news, Google news stroke case is a major issue at the moment, because it represents a threat to plurality of the media. Free, open journalism. Diversity of voices, all of those sort of things.

Tim Cowen:                  And that’s at the heart of the case we brought in front of the CMA. Google is also the ad server platform on Apple, on news as well. But that’s a slightly separate issue. But you asked the question, well, give me examples of abuse. Well, that’s shopping. There’s also a set of abuses by which Google has locked in Samsung, HTC, all of the manufacturers of phones, so that they exclusively provide them using the Android platform. And if you like, the price for this, is that Google maps their suite of apps, are then what you see straight out of the box. So, pre installation is a part of the deal. And that excludes others from being able to put their own stuff on the phone, straight out of the box.

The Mint:                     Blimey. So, the CMA, I mean, this sounds incredible micro regulation, does it? Does the CMA have the capacity, the understanding to review and understand what Google’s doing?

Tim Cowen:                  I’d like to make one point by way of observation, in terms of micromanagement, which is in your comment. There’s a guy called Frank Easterbrook, who coined the phrase, type two and type one errors, in the late 1970s, early ’80s. And he cautioned every regulator and every antitrust authority around the world. And what he said was, first do no harm. Don’t intervene, because if you intervene, you might do more harm than good. And that is a piece of law, not L-A-W, L-O-R-E. That’s a piece of well-established thinking. It’s one of those things that, when I learned economics, I was told, this is very important. Markets should be allowed to do their thing. That’s true, if when you intervene, you prevent markets from functioning. But when you’ve got a dominant platform, when you’ve got a situation, a monopoly near monopoly, oligopoly. When you’ve got markets that aren’t working at all, if you stand back and do nothing, you make matters worse.

Tim Cowen:                  So before I go any further, the problem we’ve got is so bad and so endemic, and it doesn’t appear to everybody how monopolised the markets are, because of the false patterner of competitive activity, which isn’t real. I could see it by the look on your face, you didn’t know that basically all your searches, are manipulated. And so, you’re being manipulated into who you buy, what you see, what you think about what you think you might need, is dependent on advertising. That’s all managed. So you’re being manipulated by a machine, and you don’t even know it. Which is pretty frightening. So when you look at micromanagement, I would say, the management of the system is very necessary. The process that the CMA is putting in place, will give it the ability to control the gateway, which is the browser.

Tim Cowen:                  Now, that effectively, will operate on a principles-based system. So it’s not micromanaging every tiny decision, but it is managing a system in a way that leads to effectively competitive outcomes. Now, that can’t be done alone. It’s not going to be done by the CMA dreaming up what the problem is every day. Essentially, what it has to do, is to work closely with businesses that are affected, so that they can feed into it. You raise a very big question about resources. The CMA has £112 million a year, this is from last year’s numbers. In historic terms, it’s taken single figure numbers of enforcement cases. So, less than 10. Sometimes five or six, it depends on what happens during the year. Very few abusive dominance cases. So you’re pointing to an issue of not just capacity, but knowledge and enforcement activity. This is all a bit new, really.

Tim Cowen:                  And then you’ve got the issue of, well, what about all the other things it has to do? Well, most of the time and effort that CMA’s spent on things like mergers, market investigations. So, there’s a lot of work that gets done in other areas, not on enforcement. If you said, what would you do if you were in charge? I’ll tell you. I would turn those numbers around. I think most mergers don’t cause that many problems, because most mergers, particularly between smaller businesses, are being done for efficiency gains, or synergy opportunities, or some pro competitive. But if you’re looking at big platforms buying up small companies, whether they’re likely competitors, or whether you just bolt them on and integrate them, you could seriously cause problems. So, you don’t need to be a genius to work out who you’d monitor more closely than others, but it doesn’t seem to happen.

The Mint:                     But I would just imagine that, I mean, trying to understand what’s a change in the browser means, et cetera, is a totally different activity, than trying to understand where the merger changes prices. You don’t need economists to do that, you need experts in digital tech, in coding, don’t you?

Tim Cowen:                  I really don’t agree.

The Mint:                     Okay?.

Tim Cowen:                  If you look at, and this is possibly, and it’s a very widespread misconception. I spend a lot of time at BT as you know, 17 years at BT. And I spent most of that time dealing with the competition regulation, Ofcom and all the regulators that deal with that industry specific sector. They don’t know anything more than you or I, about a particular set of issues. They’ve maybe got a background in an area. They maybe understand the difference between a leased line, and the satellite. It doesn’t take long to investigate and understand those facts. What it takes, is people who are good at assimilating the information and presenting it, in the context of what the law requires you to do. And that means, lawyers that are technologically capable. Doesn’t mean that you have to study physics or maths.

Tim Cowen:                  Or as the conversation we’re having earlier, you don’t have to have been spending your childhood messing around with stereos and radio receivers, as I did. It helps, it definitely helps. But an understanding of the basics is important, but the ability to and understand it quickly, is critical. And, if you look at Ofcom, they’re slower than [inaudible]. Looking at how long things take, it’s very slow. Courts are quicker. And the reason why courts are now quicker than industry specific or expert regulators, is because they have, basically people who are good at assembling information, understanding information, and presenting what the issues are, in the dispute.

Tim Cowen:                  So, what you really need, is a swift dispute resolution process, not an expert. An expert is, you’re on a slightly important subject for me, this. I think the idea of an expert telling you what to do, is likely to be more often wrong than not.

The Mint:                     Okay.

Tim Cowen:                  Because, you’re starting with the presumption that the experts will know the answer. The thing is, what you need to do, is to investigate the situation, understand it, and then apply to the law to it. And the expertise there, is actually in the judgement and in the application of the facts to the law. It’s not in the knowledge of the market sector. I mean, we have patent courts that every day, are dealing with the most abstruse, abstract, complicated set of facts, and they still make the decisions quite quickly.

The Mint:                     So, you think the CMA will be up to it? And could the CMA –

Tim Cowen:                  No, I didn’t say that.

The Mint:                     Ah. You didn’t say that?

Tim Cowen:                  What I said was, I think that the dispute process is now quicker than any regulatory process that we’ve got. The CMA may be putting a new system in place, which may enable it to do that. If it thinks of it as a dispute process, I think that would be a very worthwhile way to go. But let me just, before go down this as potentially, a bit of a rat hole. I think it’s a very important and breakthrough area. I think it’s groundbreaking what the CMA are doing. I just want to put this in context. You started by looking at what’s happening in America. You look at what’s happening in the UK, taking on Google, taking on Apple. There’s an investigation launched on Tuesday, into Apple and Google’s collaboration, their coordination, and the way in which they’re restricting online, mobile ecosystems. That’s another big set of questions.

The G7 Initiative to coordinate competition regulation

Tim Cowen:                  This is very much at the forefront. But I put it in context and say, this is also the CMA and the UK. Now, outside the European Union, picking up a big role in the G7. And what happened at the G7 really, is astonishing. It’s got Biden’s backing, and it’s got the European Union’s backing. Where they’ve decided to coordinate on online harms, on internet regulation, and on the structure of the tech sector, which backs the internet regulation. You can’t find a more global industrial sector, or a more global set of issues. There’s really no point in trying to regulate online harms in Australia, without recognising that the whole world is interconnected. It all needs to be regulated in a very similar way. And I think the G7 has now come together, really, it’s last weekend. I mean, this is a very new development.

The Mint:                     Wow.

Tim Cowen:                  But what they’ve done, is really quite extraordinary. And it goes into standard setting. This goes into the structure of the architecture of the work, which is incredibly welcomed. This is long overdue, and incredibly welcome. And having both the policy sector, and the competition authorities. So you’ve got sectoral regulators, you’ve got policy makers in online harms, and you’ve got the competition authorities, they’re all coming together. Amazing that this has been put together. It’s extraordinary. The scope of the activity is quite extraordinary. And it’s also a bit surprising that this is something the UK has come up with, and is convening. The CMA, for example, is going to be convening a meeting of all the G7 competition authorities, in September. So it’s not just a flash in the pan, it appears to have some legs as well.

The Mint:                     And why do you think this is suddenly happened? Is it that post-Trump thing? I mean, because this problem has been around for some time, as you say. What? The stars have aligned? I mean, what’s…

Tim Cowen:                  I personally think the stars have aligned. I don’t think it’s any great conspiracy, or some individual genius that came up with it. I think it’s one of those things that, it’s a series of incremental steps. We’ve seen huge concern, principally in America, because it controls so much of shopping in the states. It’s not really the same position, in other parts of the world. That was picked on and particularly addressed in Germany, because of Amazon’s effects on the [foreign language], the small businesses, which is the heart of the economy there. And the Kartellampt, the Federal Cartel Office, Andreas Mundt heading that, picked that as a major issue for the German economy, some years ago now. And so, it started there as a transatlantic set of issues. Not much happening on the U.S side, a lot happening in Germany.

Tim Cowen:                  We had the European Commission’s investigations of Google. And we then had the German investigations of Facebook. We then had, that’s where the CMA picked up the baton, and investigated what it could have done better, which is quite a brave thing to do from an authority point of view. They commissioned an organisation called [inaudible] and said, well, what should have we done? What should we have done? And [inaudible] said, well, you shouldn’t really have allowed Facebook to buy Instagram. And so, they looked at these cases. I think that the select committee in parliament here, has done a fantastic job. Because they published internal documents that they found on Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp, which showed that Facebook knew that WhatsApp was a competitor before they bought it. And I think that was Damian Collins, and his select committee.

Tim Cowen:                  And that obviously published a lot of very questionable decision making into the public domain, and made people look more carefully and more closely. Biden’s crew, if you like, is not just Lina Khan, to bring it back to your first question. But behind Lina Khan, is her professor, Tim Wu. And Tim Wu has been a professor, and has been pushing many of these arguments. He’s written book after book about the domination of online platforms, and the control of online advertising, and advertising generally.

Tim Cowen:                  He’s now an advisor to Biden, in the white house.

The Mint:                     Yeah.

Tim Cowen:                  And would have been heavily influential in Lina Khan’s appoint. The big question in the states is, who gets the deputy assistant attorney general role. There are two candidates in there. Both of which, are likely to be proactive. I think that the mood is definitely changing. I mean, the U.S Government is now suing Google, 38 regional states are suing Google. There’s a Texas attorney general plus 15 others, suing Google. The court actions are flying around in the states. There’s also court cases against, there was a class action filed last year, against Amazon. This is not one of those things. You said the stars aligned, yeah. I think that’s brilliant [crosstalk 00:24:57.

The Digital Giants response

The Mint:                     But these are giants with huge amounts of power, presumably, funding a lot of politicians. They’re not going to run all over, are they?

Tim Cowen:                  In the UK, if you pay somebody to simply represent you, that is illegal. I know it’s reported to have happened, but you’re not allowed to do that. In the states, there are things called, the PAC funds. So, there is a regulation of funding the political parties. I’m not sure it works that well. I mean, all political systems are questionable. But I think this is beyond the point at which a degree of influence, can be brought to bear. I think that it’s so notorious, that so much of the economy is controlled by so few.

The Mint:                     Yeah.

Tim Cowen:                  And because it’s consumer facing, it’s in your face every day, so it matters to politicians. I think actually, probably, what has sparked the biggest interest by politicians, was really when they realised that what is going on, does affect elections. So at that moment, it’s somebody tanks, on somebody else’s lawn. At which point, something needs to be done about it.

The Mint:                     How does it affect elections?

Tim Cowen:                  Well, I mean, if you think about Facebook’s notorious collection of data, and how that can affect elections. You think about the fact that Google’s news and control of the news, affects public opinion, and can control the opinion. I mean, one of the issues that we’ve got at the moment is if, Google controls the browser.

The Mint:                     Yeah.

Tim Cowen:                  And they block third party cookies. Now you think, why do you think third party cookies are good, or bad? You think they’re bad, and you’ve been told their bad, you’ve been brainwashed. Well, who uses third party cookies? All the newspapers. What do they do? They are advertising platforms. Increasingly, they’re the biggest competitive advertising platforms, to Google and Facebook. So what you do if you block third party cookies is, you block the ability of your advertising competitor, to make money at your expense. Because what you’re trying to do, if you’re Google, is to go out and sell your system to advertisers. That’s how they make money.

The Mint:                     Yes.

Tim Cowen:                  So you can block your competitor, you make more money.

The Mint:                     It’s outrageous, isn’t it?

Tim Cowen:                  Yeah. So –

The Mint:                     Just to move on, just the final point. I mean, so, there’s huge momentum, and there doesn’t seem to be potential for these big players, to actually [inaudible] pocket. What’s their defensive strategy? Are they just going to tie this up in [inaudible] for decades? Is there something that they could… are they going to negotiate some sort of deal? Is the CMA model going to be replicated?

Tim Cowen:                  I think, the well-known Google playbook is that you say, I’m very sorry, for quite a long time. You then claim, for example, I’ll give an example of this. They claimed that they made a mistake when they installed the well, I mean, we can go through so many cases. If you look at street view, Google installed devices that identify not only the location, but also the IP address of the location. And our data protection commissioner at the time said, well, this is an illegal invasion of privacy. And just think to yourself, logistically, how much work and effort does it take to instal in a car that’s basically built for a camera, a wifi snooping device? It’s complicated. It took a lot of time and effort. That type of activity, you don’t end up with, pay the fine, and commit to certain undertakings. The undertakings are time limited. You move on.

Tim Cowen:                  That happened in 2000 and, maybe six, seven. It became completely unnecessary after Android actually, simply has on it, a wifi snooping device. Because that’s how you identify different wifi signals. So, Google knows all that. Now it doesn’t need to equip cars with it. But what they’ve done recently, fills the same playbook. Same history with the European commission. Let’s give a set of undertakings. The undertakings are then time limited, and you pay the fine. You got to remember, the European Commission has now got 9 billion in fines, against Google. 9 billion in total, in fines. But you got to put that into the context of an organisation that makes 60 billion, a quarter.

The Mint:                     Yes.

Tim Cowen:                  Which is about 5 billion, a week. So, [crosstalk] Google just paid a fine to the French Competition Authority. Gave them a set of undertaking, which are a time limited. The fine was 220 million. They’ll make that in the morning.

The Mint:                     So, it’s all very well the fact that the regulatory effort is coming, but it sounds as if it’s just going to be a flea bite, on an elephant.

Tim Cowen:                  Well, that’s the danger. What we want to see is really effective action, backed up by the ability of those that have been harmed, to claim damages. And in principle, those rules are there, the law is there. In practise, it’s a tough thing to do. I spent a lot of time doing those cases. It’s not easy, but it can be done. When you’ve got the settlements being put in place by Google, they’re not actionable settlements. Google makes it clear that it will give a settlement to the authority on the basis that it’s not making any admission. So it reserves it’s right to fight the case later in court, which isn’t really great. It’d be wonderful if the authorities actually rang out or told the organisation, [inaudible] you’ve broken the law, this is what you’re going to do.

Tim Cowen:                  So a bit of a stricter position from the authorities, would be more welcome. And that would also help with the damages position. But I have to be honest about this, I don’t think Google will change it’s behaviour until it really has to. Because, I paused there for a minute. I don’t know how much money do people made when I paused.

The Mint:                     Yes.

Tim Cowen:                  The longer things go on, the more money they make. I was talking to one lawyer in the states who said, I said, well, the Department of Justice inquiry… sorry, they’re not, it’s a court case actually. The Department of Justice are suing Google. And the hearing is in 2023. And I said, is there anything you can do to speed that up? And he said, well, remember, every week, 5 billion. Google has however many billion reasons to extend the timeframe. Speeding it up is very difficult.

The Mint:                     And they pay expensive lawyers to do that for them. So, can you end with any optimistic note?

Tim Cowen:                  Yeah. I don’t think the more expensive the lawyer, the better they are. That’s the optimistic note. I also think there’s a bit of an element here of, what I like to, you know the old story about the Greeks at Thermopylae. So, what you need, is a small number of people who are dedicated, that can move more quickly. If the army on the other side is enormous, it doesn’t matter how well paid it is, it still has to get through narrow points. And so, you can pick things off, and you can solve problems.

Tim Cowen:                  I think there is a systemic need to change various things, which we’re obviously working on. But, no, I think that the positive thing is that G-7 is coming together. And if you get the G-7 governments, if you’re on the wrong side of that number of governments that control that amount of the economy, ultimately, I guess the final thought is, there is only one true monopoly which you know, which is government.

The Mint:                     Yeah. Okay. Well [crosstalk], thank you very much, Tim. That’s fascinating. So, positive so far. A big step forward, but let’s see what the next steps are. Okay, thanks very much for your time.

Tim Cowen:                  Pleasure. Thanks a lot. Cheers Henry.

The Mint:                     Cheers.

Tim Cowen:                  Thank you. Bye-bye.


Tim Cowen

Chair of the Antitrust practice at Preiskel & Co LLP, Tim is independently recognised as one of the UK’s leading regulatory and competition lawyers focusing on the Technology Media and …

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