Should the Government Break Up Companies Like Amazon and Facebook? A Soho Forum Debate

Law professors Tim Wu and Richard Epstein went head to head at a live event.


Antitrust should take the initiative to control the size of big tech companies.

That was the resolution of a public debate hosted by the Soho Forum in New York City on March 9, 2020. It featured Tim Wu of Columbia University Law School, and Richard Epstein of New York University Law School. Soho Forum Director Gene Epstein moderated.

It was an Oxford-style debate, in which the audience votes on the resolution at the beginning and end of the event, and the side that gains the most ground is victorious. Richard Epstein prevailed in the debate by convincing 17.48 percent of audience members to change their minds. Wu convinced 2.91 percent.

Wu, who was arguing for the affirmative, is the Julius Silver Professor of Law, Science, and Technology at Columbia Law School. He is also the author of The Master Switch, The Attention Merchants, and The Curse of Bigness.

Epstein is the Peter and Kirsten Bedford Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law at New York University Law School, and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago. His most popular titles include The Classical Liberal Constitution: The Uncertain Quest for Limited Government,  Why Progressive Institutions are Unsustainable, and Takings: Private Property and the Power of Eminent Domain.

The Soho Forum, which is sponsored by the Reason Foundation, is a monthly debate series at the SubCulture Theater in Manhattan's East Village.

Produced by John Osterhoudt.

Photo: Brett Raney.