Monday, June 14, 2004

There was a comment to the story I just posted that I had to respond to. I doubt the guy, kjantz, reads my blog, but it's indicative of the type of thinking I run into, and I'd like to respond here anyway.

As much as I dislike and distrust governmental regulatory agencies, I have to admit I distrust business even more, they need to be ridden herd on outside the bloated, expensive, inefficient justice system we've created.

Ridden herd? These companies aren't cattle, they're what creates the Gross National Product of this country, pay taxes, and employ people. In a lot of cases, they're actually in the pockets of politicians for favors, like spectrum in the public airwaves. Businesses that don't get your business don't stay viable for long, whereas politicians are viable for at least a term limit, and most of the time your vote doesn't count if two of your neighbors think the other way. Your distrust of business is less a function of business and more a function of politics, polticians, government corruption, and your own proclivities.

Do you really think a monopoly wouldn't be created is valuable airwaves went up for public bid, and then got resold to the highest bidder? Guess who would pay for that obscene profit taking--the public.

Monopolies are created in two ways - a business provides a service that is so superior that everyone uses it (Microsoft). The second way is that government creates the monopoly to provide "better service" (Amtrak). Now your task is to find two things - another operating system for your computer, and another passenger train from Seattle to New York. I'll wait...

Quite possibly a monopoly would be created - the Baby Bells are busy organizing themselves back into one big company as we speak. But there will always be hold outs, someone who won't sell. In real estate terms, the government can assert eminent domain to get the land. Without the FCC, there courts are the only arbiters, and I trust them more than I trust agencies with no Constitutional authority.

You think no business can afford the price? They'll find a way--perhaps foreign investment.

Like our foreign investments in the Middle East for oil? Business investment is much different than government investment. Without profit, there's no reason for a business to invest in a monopoly. Government invest (i.e. steal your money in the form of taxes and shuttle to other governments) for power.

Monopolies also have another problem - market saturation. Microsoft is fighting this now - when everyone has Windows, there's no one left to sell to. Now what do you do? You need to be profitable, or your company goes under. So to make money, maybe you sell/rent some ofyour airwaves to other people.

You think anti-trust laws are enforceable? Take a look at Microsoft.

They worked as far as I can tell, and as far as they were applied. Microsoft doesn't engage in those practices anymore - was that not good enough for you? Or do you propose Microsoft should have been forcibly broken up by the government? I guess it worked for AT&T...

Proud of the 'free' internet---I don't like spam taking up valuable bandwidth and my allocated mailbox space, the crooks that scam people through these schemes, the porn that is readily available.

Yes I am - I filter my spam, have an ISP that doesn't count filtered spam towards my e-mail limits (free market at work - you should find a new ISP/e-mail provider), am smart enough to avoid the scams, and aren't attracted to the porm.

Your first complaint is a function of a free market - people marketting and advertising their wares via spam. Well, if it wasn't so cost effective to do so, it wouldn't be a problem. In short, they're making more money from the spam than it cost them to send it. Either stop clicking through the spam, or make it cost more for them to send it.

Your second complaint smacks of the mommy state - do we need to protect everyone from scam artists and hustlers? I don't want that job, and I'd resent anyone who came to me trying to do that job.

Your last complaint is absurd - I'm offended by religious television programming. I certainly don't think it should be outlawed - I just don't watch it. For you, it's pornography - don't look, don't buy it, and get on with your life. No one guaranteed this life would be without pain or offense or outrage - if you think your morality trumps mine and entitles you to a law enforcing that morality, you're wrong.

The Internet is a perfect example of what unregulated business is really like.

Yes it is - unfettered business that is driven by market forces. It's beautiful - if I don't want to pay for a service, I don't. If I find it cheaper somewhere else, I take my business there. If I don't like porn, I don't go to those sites.

With government, try not paying for the service sometime - it's called tax evasion, and they'll draw a gun on you to make you pay. If you find a service cheaper somewhere else, you can pay for that while paying the government too - the Post Office still gets your money even if you use Fed Ex or UPS. If you don't like a service, tough - you get it anyway, you can't opt-out of government.

The free market is better than any central planning from government, plain and simple. It is not, however, safer - you might get your fingers burned. That's the price of freedom. And I'm willing to pay it.

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