The Government Is Not An ISP

from the taking-america-on-line-too-literally dept

An interesting Doc Searls column on net neutraliy argues rightly that the internet shouldn't just be measured in terms of real costs and profits, but also on the opportunity costs of not developing the web to its full potential. Instead of seeing the internet as a business does, in terms of profit-blocking regulations, it should be seen more like the interstate highway system or the national parks, as a public good of incalculable benefit. But public goods have problems too, like misuse, abuse, and the poor upkeep. The tragedy of the commons is a real phenomenon. Searls is making the assumption that just because there's a flaw in the system, the system is irreparably broken and needs to be made public. When businesses regularly discriminated against minorities and women, the government didn't try to nationalize them, instead, powerful laws were put in place to ensure fairness. It took several tries before the laws were made strong enough to work, but it was worth the effort. Heretofore, the law has subsidized corporate abuse of the net, but some of these problems might not exist if there were truly an even playing field. Searls should consider the opportunity costs in his own argument -- what will it do to future investment spending if the government can take away the assets, when it deems them poorly used?
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  • identicon
    Matt Sherwood, 17 Mar 2006 @ 10:29am

    No discrimination?

    Just look at the employee pool of the top-flight investment banks, and the very senior management of the Fortune 500.

    No discrimination against women and minorities?

    Indeed...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2006 @ 11:47am

      Re: No discrimination?

      youre a genius. only the scourge of discrimination could be to blame for this!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        nepotism,favoritism & love of the familiar..., 17 Mar 2006 @ 12:28pm

        Re: Re: No discrimination?

        I hate it when when people hijack a thread and take it on a totally diferent tangent, but I couldn't let this go. There are woefully few minorities holding high executive positions of Fortune 500 co's. I can think of a few, but the reality is relative to minortity percentage of the population there really aren't many. Now before you say something stupid like minorities aren't motivated, educated, driven, or overall qualified take a moment to think about it. EVERY ONE OF US has seen or worked for a manager or vp who got his (or her) position because of who he knew NOT because of his ability. Discrimination MAY not be as large a component as it once was, but it is evident practically everywhere that people tend to favor and therefore mentor and promote those who look like them and have experiences similiar to theirs. So my response to your response:"only the scourge of discrimination could be to blame for this!" No, but it is a larger part than you give it credit for...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2006 @ 12:37pm

          Re: Re: Re: No discrimination?

          Is it really race or gender discrimination; or is it the separation of classes? No one in my family is wealthy, so there is no way anyone in my family will ever be wealthy. Which is completely independent of my sex or skin color; although, not independent from my family history. The rich promote the rich, and the poor and middle class stay where they are.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            loser, 17 Mar 2006 @ 12:47pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: No discrimination?

            The rich promote the rich, and the poor and middle class stay where they are.


            Or at least the ones with the above view do. Oh well, more money for me.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Duane M. Navarre, 17 Mar 2006 @ 4:09pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: No discrimination?

            You feel if you are poor, you will stay poor .

            That is simply not the case .

            Ppl who work hard and live beneath their means can save money,
            and start a business and make it big .

            A friend of mine worked as an apprentice electrician for 4 years,
            then 4 years as a journeyman, at the ripe old age of 26 he
            was working for himself billing over $70 an hour .

            He makes over $135,000 a year, and his house and cars
            are paid for and he has zero debt .

            He plans on retiring on his 40th birthday as a millionaire,
            and is on target to do so .

            Plumbers can do this, heat and air ppl, builders, GOOD
            mechanics , etc etc .

            It is more about doing a job that pays well, versus
            warming a chair in some office somewhere .

            Ex-MislTech

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        nepotism,favoritism & love of the familiar..., 17 Mar 2006 @ 12:28pm

        Re: Re: No discrimination?

        I hate it when when people hijack a thread and take it on a totally diferent tangent, but I couldn't let this go. There are woefully few minorities holding high executive positions of Fortune 500 co's. I can think of a few, but the reality is relative to minortity percentage of the population there really aren't many. Now before you say something stupid like minorities aren't motivated, educated, driven, or overall qualified take a moment to think about it. EVERY ONE OF US has seen or worked for a manager or vp who got his (or her) position because of who he knew NOT because of his ability. Discrimination MAY not be as large a component as it once was, but it is evident practically everywhere that people tend to favor and therefore mentor and promote those who look like them and have experiences similiar to theirs. So my response to your response:"only the scourge of discrimination could be to blame for this!" No, but it is a larger part than you give it credit for...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Dave, 7 Jun 2006 @ 6:39pm

      Re: No discrimination?

      If you are a woman or minority you get the job first, almost always, even when you are less qualified.
      Look on the road who is going to work in the morning. I see alot more women going to proffesional jobs. And guesse what if the person you have to hire doesnt work, you cant fire them!, Espcially in Atlanta! but you CAN fire a white male (unless he sticks his ding dong up where the crap comes out then he is just a minority)

      For that matter the women should be home raising the kids and the Father be He Black, white, or what ever should be working!!!!
      Hireing should be by qualifications for the job not by Race or sex.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Duane M. Navarre, 17 Mar 2006 @ 10:59am

    Corporate corruption with the net

    I could just say "Global Crossing"

    I could just say "MCI/Worldcom"

    I could just say "Bell DSL competitive sabotage"

    I could just say the name of several corrupt companies
    during the bygone DOT BOMB era .

    But instead let me show you this ....

    http://www.newnetworks.com/ShortSCANDALSummary.htm

    The US taxpayer subsidised the corrupt Telcos for ...

    $200 BILLION USD ....

    The corporations are doing a FINE JOB ....

    Business as usual ....

    The Corporate whoring of america .

    Ex-MislTech

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    wuufles, 17 Mar 2006 @ 7:01pm

    re: no discrimination

    "Or at least the ones with the above view do. Oh well, more money for me."

    Totally! If you work hard, you'll get ahead (Economist.com).
    --------------------
    between 1979 and 2000 the real income of households in the lowest fifth (the bottom 20% of earners) grew by 6.4%, while that of households in the top fifth grew by 70%. The family income of the top 1% grew by 184%—and that of the top 0.1% or 0.01% grew even faster. Back in 1979 the average income of the top 1% was 133 times that of the bottom 20%; by 2000 the income of the top 1% had risen to 189 times that of the bottom fifth.

    Thirty years ago the average real annual compensation of the top 100 chief executives was $1.3m: 39 times the pay of the average worker. Today it is $37.5m: over 1,000 times the pay of the average worker. In 2001 the top 1% of households earned 20% of all income and held 33.4% of all net worth.
    --------------------

    Of course, this brings up the problem of the selfishness that is required to be successful in an advanced capitalist meritocracy and the urge toward egaltarianism shared deep down in most people. All things considered, we ALL should be rich, as historically cheap (cost vs extraction vs energy return) petroleum basically allows we as humans to pull money right out of the ground, but this is obviously not the case. Perhaps you will get rich, perhaps you will not, but the odds are bad and getting worse.

    ...Back to the article.

    "Searls should consider the opportunity costs in his own argument -- what will it do to future investment spending if the government can take away the assets, when it deems them poorly used? "

    Do you mean to tell me that the government might have the power to expropriate private property without the owner's consent and not be required to compensate for the confiscated(stolen) property??? The government has always had the power of eminent domain -- so either future investment sending is already broken, or is unaffected by it.

    Property rights mean NOTHING when a government exists, if you do not do what they tell you, whatever that law is - you can either dig deep and lobby them with sacks of cash, go to jail or have the honour of being legally put to death by the state.

    Of course, people could always vote for someone competent, but there's no telling what kind of effect that would have on future investment spending.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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