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In our last episode of 2017, EconTalk host Russ Roberts welcomed Matt Stoller of the Open Market Institute to discuss his take on modern monopolies. In this lively conversation, Roberts and Stoller discussed the role and influence of technology companies in our lives- especially “the Big 3,” Facebook, Google, and Amazon.

1. How great a problem is extremism on social media? Is the problem self-generated, as Roberts suggests, or inherent in social media’s algorithmic nature?

2. What does Stoller mean when he argues that tech companies like Google and Amazon are disruptive to democracy and violate our rights as citizens? How does Roberts respond to this claim?

3. Roberts reminds Stoller that fears of companies growing too large and having too much power over consumers is nothing new. What does Stoller think is different about companies such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon today?

4. If the Department of Justice were to disallow acquisitions by the “Big 3,” what effect would this have? Would it have the effect(s) Stoller desires?

5. The biggest bone of contention between Stoller and Roberts regards the plight of the creative class today. What do you think? It is easier or harder to be an author, musician, or craft brewer today than it was twenty or thirty years ago, and why?