One of the prime drivers of economic growth inside America over the past century has been disruptive innovation; yet the phenomenon that Lessig describes is increasingly being used by large incumbent firms as a mechanism to stave off the process. Given how hard it can be to survive a disruptive challenge, and how effective lobbying has proven in stopping it, it’s no wonder that incumbent firms take this route so often.
Netflix. Uber. Airbnb. Tesla. Fisker. Most economies would kill to have a set of innovators such as these. And yet at every turn, these companies are running headlong into regulation (or lack thereof) that seems designed to benefit incumbents like NADA and Comcast — regulation that, for some strange reason, policy makers seem extremely reticent to change if it results in upsetting incumbents.