Net Neutrality And The Broken Windows Fallacy

from the ajit-pai,-read-your-bastiat dept

I've mentioned the idea of the broken windows fallacy -- not to be confused with the long debunked broken windows theory of policing -- twice in the past in reference to net neutrality, including in my recent post about what Ajit Pai should have said about repealing net neutrality. But both times I talked about it, it was kind of buried in much longer articles, and the more I think about it, the more important I think it is in understanding why Pai and his supporters are so far off in their thinking and understanding on net neutrality. What I find most perplexing about this is that people who often position themselves as doing away with overly burdensome regulations -- which is a stance that Pai has staked out pretty clearly -- are usually the kind of folks who talk frequently about the broken windows fallacy. And yet, here, those same folks seem to be missing it.

As background, the broken windows fallacy comes from Frederic Bastiat, the French economist often associated with free market and libertarian thought, and it's his clever and highly evocative way of explaining why destructive behavior -- while it may generate economic activity, is not good for the economy, because it misses all of the other (often hidden) costs, including the opportunity cost of investing that money in more productive activity. Bastiat's version went as follows:

Have you ever witnessed the anger of the good shopkeeper, James Goodfellow, when his careless son has happened to break a pane of glass? If you have been present at such a scene, you will most assuredly bear witness to the fact that every one of the spectators, were there even thirty of them, by common consent apparently, offered the unfortunate owner this invariable consolation – "It is an ill wind that blows nobody good. Everybody must live, and what would become of the glaziers if panes of glass were never broken?"

Now, this form of condolence contains an entire theory, which it will be well to show up in this simple case, seeing that it is precisely the same as that which, unhappily, regulates the greater part of our economical institutions.

Suppose it cost six francs to repair the damage, and you say that the accident brings six francs to the glazier's trade – that it encourages that trade to the amount of six francs – I grant it; I have not a word to say against it; you reason justly. The glazier comes, performs his task, receives his six francs, rubs his hands, and, in his heart, blesses the careless child. All this is that which is seen.

But if, on the other hand, you come to the conclusion, as is too often the case, that it is a good thing to break windows, that it causes money to circulate, and that the encouragement of industry in general will be the result of it, you will oblige me to call out, "Stop there! Your theory is confined to that which is seen; it takes no account of that which is not seen."

It is not seen that as our shopkeeper has spent six francs upon one thing, he cannot spend them upon another. It is not seen that if he had not had a window to replace, he would, perhaps, have replaced his old shoes, or added another book to his library. In short, he would have employed his six francs in some way, which this accident has prevented

Let us take a view of industry in general, as affected by this circumstance. The window being broken, the glazier's trade is encouraged to the amount of six francs; this is that which is seen. If the window had not been broken, the shoemaker's trade (or some other) would have been encouraged to the amount of six francs; this is that which is not seen.

And if that which is not seen is taken into consideration, because it is a negative fact, as well as that which is seen, because it is a positive fact, it will be understood that neither industry in general, nor the sum total of national labour, is affected, whether windows are broken or not.

Now let us consider James B. himself. In the former supposition, that of the window being broken, he spends six francs, and has neither more nor less than he had before, the enjoyment of a window.

In the second, where we suppose the window not to have been broken, he would have spent six francs on shoes, and would have had at the same time the enjoyment of a pair of shoes and of a window.

Now, as James B. forms a part of society, we must come to the conclusion, that, taking it altogether, and making an estimate of its enjoyments and its labours, it has lost the value of the broken window.

When we arrive at this unexpected conclusion: "Society loses the value of things which are uselessly destroyed;" and we must assent to a maxim which will make the hair of protectionists stand on end — To break, to spoil, to waste, is not to encourage national labour; or, more briefly, "destruction is not profit."

In short, breaking windows may generate economic activity for the glazier, but that doesn't count the economic cost to whoever had his window broken, or the opportunity costs of how the money spent on fixing the window could have been fixed.

So how does this apply to net neutrality? Well, Ajit Pai and nearly all of the rather vocal supporters of taking away net neutrality rules continually go back to the claim that the rules harmed broadband infrastructure investment. We'll leave aside the (rather important point) that this claim is not even remotely close to true -- but even assuming it is, it's still a broken windows fallacy.

That's because broadband infrastructure investment is not the entire market, and focusing just on that is the same as just focusing on the economic activity for the glazier created by a broken window. To take this to the extreme case: if we want to stimulate broadband infrastructure investment, just rip up the current internet -- and then we'd need to spend a ton on rebuilding the internet. Yes, that would be the best way to "stimulate" a massive internet infrastructure investment, but the costs to everyone else would be dire.

In the same way, when the FCC focuses just on broadband infrastructure, it is ignoring the costs on everyone else who use the internet. Or, as per Bastiat's story, the FCC is ignoring the costs to the guy whose window is broken as well as all of the opportunity costs from the money he spends on the glazier that doesn't go towards more productive pursuits.

In the net neutrality world, those costs are massive. It is the costs of nearly all internet platforms and services, which now have massive levels of uncertainty about whether or not ISPs will end up abusing their power to limit access (or, more likely, charge for preferred access). It includes the uncertainty of the big broadband companies favoring their own content and service partners to effectively shut out independent services. It includes the costs to the public who have less choice and fewer services that they can use, and who are more locked in to a dwindling number of giant broadband companies.

In short, Ajit Pai's FCC has fallen completely for the broken windows fallacy, by focusing just on one narrow area of economic activity, without even being willing to acknowledge that it will negatively impact a much wider swath of the economy. This is especially disappointing to see, considering that Pai and his supporters keep claiming that they are the ones to "bring economics back" to the FCC, and they are the ones who argued that the Tom Wheeler FCC ignored economics. Yet, when you look at the details, it's Pai and his supporters who seem to be the ones sticking their heads in the sand here and, as Bastiat noted, confining their theory to "that which it seen" and taking "no account of that which is not seen."

In economics this is a pretty 101-level mistake. That the FCC is making it in dismantling a key concept that makes the internet function competitively is particularly disappointing.


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  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 20 Jun 2018 @ 8:39am

    Interesting argument, but one of Bastiat's core points demonstrates a surprising degree of intellectual laziness:

    It is not seen that as our shopkeeper has spent six francs upon one thing, he cannot spend them upon another. It is not seen that if he had not had a window to replace, he would, perhaps, have replaced his old shoes, or added another book to his library. In short, he would have employed his six francs in some way, which this accident has prevented

    Let us take a view of industry in general, as affected by this circumstance. The window being broken, the glazier's trade is encouraged to the amount of six francs; this is that which is seen. If the window had not been broken, the shoemaker's trade (or some other) would have been encouraged to the amount of six francs; this is that which is not seen.

    And if that which is not seen is taken into consideration, because it is a negative fact, as well as that which is seen, because it is a positive fact, it will be understood that neither industry in general, nor the sum total of national labour, is affected, whether windows are broken or not.

    Nowhere does he mention the other, obvious possibility, which is that our shopkeeper might have not spent the money at all. Apparently in his world, everyone is living paycheck-to-paycheck with no savings?

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    • identicon
      ANON, 20 Jun 2018 @ 9:44am

      Re:

      Actually, also omits that if the window is broken, the Glazier instead takes his 6 francs and buys a book or a pair of shoes. Net zero sum.

      But "what if he does not spend it"? The concept is "velocity of money". People buy food all the time, but maybe save up for the new car or new sofa (or borrow, a different concept). So the money is spent eventually. he faster it is spent, the more economic activity. In fact, this was the complaint about Japan's stagnant economy - the iron rice bowl companies actually have very poor pension plans, so workers must save a lot for retirement. The economic downturn of the last two decades there means they must save even more. The money piles up in banks and they try to find money-making opportunities, but those domestically are few and far between - because nobody is buying other stuff, they at saving.

      So the logic suggests that pension plans encourage more economic activity as well as providing a pool of capital for investment borrowing.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2018 @ 10:00am

        Re: Re:

        the iron rice bowl companies actually have very poor pension plans, so workers must save a lot for retirement.

        Whether they save inside or outside a pension plan, the amount they'd need to save wouldn't change.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2018 @ 9:53am

      Re:

      I don't see any laziness it at all. Even in savings the money is used. Instead it is used by the bank for loans or is used by him at a later date. When the possibilities are endless there isn't a point to keep going into more and more complicated theories. His argument on how the money will be used when he pretty thorough. The only time that it is worthless is if he destroys the money.

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      • icon
        Bamboo Harvester (profile), 20 Jun 2018 @ 1:30pm

        Re: Re:

        Banks do NOT loan out Depositor monies. They're rated in "Points", the more Points, the more money they create out of thin air to provide loans.

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        • identicon
          Wendy Cockcroft, 21 Jun 2018 @ 6:06am

          Re: Re: Re:

          If that's true, what's a "run" on a bank and why are these things problematic?

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2018 @ 10:53am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I believe you are talking about a Fractional Reserve Banking system. While that is somewhat true, most still need a depositor's money in order to do that. The rate is variable but for major banks 10% of the money they are creating for loans to be actually held by the bank in reserve. That is why a depositor gets interest. Your $1000 in savings allows someone else to take out a $10,000 loan. Sure, banks can lose in that game but they are insured. So as long as you have less then about $250,000 in savings, then your money is safe if the bank fails. So going back to the original reason of this discussion. It is even better that the shopkeep put his 6 francs in the bank as it will allow someone else to take a loan out for 60 francs. Further stimulating the economy.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2018 @ 11:35am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Your $1000 in savings allows someone else to take out a $10,000 loan.

            Check your math.

            • A depositor brings $1,000 in bills to teller. Bank debits its cash account, and credits depositor's savings account.

            • A borrower gets $900 in bills from teller. Bank credits its cash account, and debits borrower's loan account.

            As a result of these two transactions: How much cash does the bank have on hand? What are the bank's assets and liabilities?

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2018 @ 2:47pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Did you even look up Fractional Reserve Banking system?

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2018 @ 2:50pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Fractional reserve banking is a banking system in which only a fraction of bank deposits are backed by actual cash on hand and are available for withdrawal. This is done to expand the economy by freeing up capital that can be loaned out to other parties.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 22 Jun 2018 @ 7:25am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Very teensy-tiny bank starts up, selling 100 shares of stock at $10 per to initial investors. (It's a nano-bank!)

                NanoBank uses its startup capital to establish a $900 account at a larger bank, keeps $100 in singles for the cash drawer, turns on the lights in the lobby, and hangs an open sign on the door.

                First customer walks in. “Hi! Welcome to NanoBank!” “Hi! I'd like to see a loan officer. I want to borrow $10,000 to buy a new gaming computer.” “Sure!” Loan officer does the paperwork with the customer, arranging a 10-year zero-down variable-rate mortage on a new gaming computer.

                Loan officer brings the customer, and paperwork, to NanoBank president who shakes hands and smiles a lot. The loan paperwork is Approved ;-). So they go to the bank's cashier, who writes a check drawn on the bank for the loan amount. NanoBank bookkeeper records the loan.

                Customer orders their new gaming computer, paying for it with the cashier's check.

                Now what's next for NanoBank? The future looks bright!

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2018 @ 11:49am

      Re:

      Apparently in his world, everyone is living paycheck-to-paycheck with no savings?

      Apparently, even in 19th Century France, shopkeepers required an operating cash reserve in order stay solvent and continue as a going concern.

      An operating cash reserve. Who knew?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2018 @ 12:02pm

        Re: Re:

        An operating cash reserve. Who knew?

        Crazy, why not just put all your expenses on a line of credit?

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      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 20 Jun 2018 @ 1:55pm

        Re: Re:

        Yes, and what does that have to do with the point I made?

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2018 @ 5:26pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yes, and what does that have to do with the point I made?

          You didn't make a point.

          If the shopkeeper doesn't spend the six francs, and it shows up on his books as nothing more than additional cash on hand, then it still provides a benefit to the business, by increasing confidence in the ability to meet operating cash flow liquidity needs in a contingency, and to stay solvent over the long run.

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          • icon
            sumgai (profile), 21 Jun 2018 @ 9:11am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Indeed. Bastiat's point was that the shopkeeper was forcibly removed from control of what he rightfully thought of as "his money". (In this case, the force was that the window must be repaired quickly, else the original purpose of the window was merely a vanity.)

            Control of his money, regardless of how he exercised that control, is the name of the game. Choosing which segment of the overall economy to "encourage" was his right, even if it meant that his exercise of that control was to simply save his money for a period of time, before actually spending any of it.

            sumgai

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  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 20 Jun 2018 @ 8:58am

    Even worse

    The thing about net neutrality is that much of the bandwidth usage that is under attack, either from the idea of zero rating or use my stuff not the other guys stuff or pay a lot more if you use a little bit more is that the stuff that is likely to cost more is mere entertainment. Yes there are other uses for the Internet (and I value those), but they tend to be lower bandwidth usages. The big usage, at least for now, is entertainment, videos, gaming, etc..

    If we think about what human needs are; food, clothing, and shelter, we notice that entertainment doesn't even come up. Now I am not anti entertainment, but the ISP's, and the MAFIAA's tend to think that entertainment is of much greater importance than basic needs. Or other like to have's that aren't entertainment, or are entertaining but don't require Internet.

    It hasn't happened to a great extent yet, but when consumers are faced with Internet or food, or Internet or clothing, or Internet or shelter, are they going to buy entertainment, instead? From the broken window fallacy perspective, there are things that might be more important than Comcast, or AT&T getting you to use their entertainment system, such as say transportation, or the infrastructure to use transportation. In addition, there are forms of entertainment that don't require a whole lot of Internet; the beach, or a lake, or a hiking trail, or going to a restaurant or bar, or a bike ride, or visiting a museum, or vacation travel, or going to see a live performance, or if it were worth the cost (questionable at current prices in my mind) a movie, and so on. There is more to the entertainment ecosystem that just movies and tv shows and music displayed over the Internet (which is just a transportation medium that is replacing over the air transmissions and we might be surprised when technology is found to make over the air transmissions more viable than cables and wires and fiber optics again). Over the air was 'destroyed' in favor of hardlines, and hardlines may yet be 'destroyed' by the next iteration, which might be satellites or something no ne has thought of yet.

    Then there is that whole control thingy. It is not just about getting your money (though that is paramount in the short term), it is also about putting corporations in positions that may be able to influence how you think about things (even unduly) with the likelihood of their own benefit, rather than yours in mind. How you vote, what you purchase, where you live, what work you do, what other things interest you, etc..

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    • identicon
      PRMan, 20 Jun 2018 @ 10:15am

      Re: Even worse

      "Internet or food, or Internet or clothing, or Internet or shelter, are they going to buy entertainment, instead?"

      Looking at my brother? Yes. This is exactly what he would do. No money for food this week. But always has enough for his cable and internet bills.

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      • icon
        deadspatula (profile), 20 Jun 2018 @ 11:43am

        Re: Re: Even worse

        To be fair, thanks to the way our economic systems favors them, fulfilling cable and internet contracts provides a strong long term benefit, in the form of economic advantages both employment and credit related.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2018 @ 12:04pm

          Re: Re: Re: Even worse

          you mean thanks to stupid consumers valuing entertainment over survival and businesses figuring that out?

          If you want to be a kept anime they are more than happy to oblige, why should government step in and protect you from yourself?

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        • icon
          Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 20 Jun 2018 @ 12:04pm

          Re: Re: Re: Even worse

          The benefit is ethereal. Yes it does produce economic activity, but is the Internet infrastructure more important that say roads or bridges? The Internet provides knowledge, entertainment, communications, as well as some commerce, but the biggest advantage is convenient access to those things. They are all available in other, or previous forms.

          A better question might be, what things provide longer term, or maybe wider spread economic activity? Roads support businesses that are not Internet related, which might be an argument that road infrastructure has a wider economic impact than cable or fiber or wires.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2018 @ 12:09pm

          Re: Re: Re: Even worse

          Paying for cable TV isn't likely to provide employment benefits. Someone who has "no money for food" isn't going to get a net benefit from credit either; they're more likely to use payday loans to their long-term detriment.

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2018 @ 9:36am

    Except is nothing like your phrase. -- Just more predictive FUD.

    As I've said, my expectation is that nothing will ever be pinned to this change. Trend of last 30 years will continue: teh internets will go on generally getting faster and cheaper. Far more likely than your End Of The World notions.

    And, as I've said, YOU are just upset because expect that this change will disadvantage corporations which you favor over corporations that you disfavor.

    We'll bull through, Masnick. Humans have been through wars, hurricanes, tornodos, volcanos, and the savagery of Stone Age religions. -- Just. Calm. Down. In almost no event will your soft life be affected in any measurable way.

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    • icon
      :Lobo Santo (profile), 20 Jun 2018 @ 10:09am

      Re: Except is nothing like your phrase. -- Just more predictive FUD.

      Yes! Anonymous Coward is right!

      Surely, having slid in the tip, there's no way the cable companies (see: ISPs) will then continue to see how far they can stretch your money-orifice all while having no concern as to your discomfort.

      Certainly, there's no way we'll ever end up with bullshit like having hundreds of channels, all "packaged", and all filled with garbage content--for the low low price of over $120 per month, in a handy non-negotiable package.

      Plus, AC in his comparison to religions and tornados and volcanos... wow! He's right! After huge events, people will die and we'll abandon our faith but maybe after a few generations, the PTSD will have tapered off to the point where we believe our post-volcanic world is "normal".

      Damn, AC, you're some kind of philosopher-king! Have you thought about running for Parliament in Zurich? You'd be great!

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2018 @ 9:52am

    You assume he cares about any of this instead of just serving his corporate masters..

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2018 @ 10:06am

    Oh please..

    I hate NN and do not subscribe to the bullshit Broken Window logic.

    NN is just a fake sword to fall on for many. It still blesses the monopolies and still provides "nebulous" rules so that enforcement can be gamed for political points.

    I want the monopolies destroyed and her you are wasting time trying to figure out each bullshit excuse they come up with that has already been dismantled several ways!

    Keep roasting on the spit... must be more comfortable than you are letting on!

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2018 @ 10:26am

      Re: Oh please..

      ITT: Someone who hates Net Neutrality but doesn't understand what it is or who it protects.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2018 @ 11:08am

      Re: Oh please..

      Are yes the man who wants the monopolies destroyed, by making them into a public, that is government owned, monopoly. My question to you is why do you think the government will do any better owning the infrastructure than they are currently doing by abandoning the regulating of it?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2018 @ 11:42am

        Re: Re: Oh please..

        Okay, have to give you props, this is a NEW lie being pedaled.

        They may be publicly owned like roads, but businesses still get paid to "work on them". We just need to make sure public owns public property and NOT government.

        "My question to you is why do you think the government will do any better owning the infrastructure than they are currently doing by abandoning the regulating of it?"

        As long as you are going to have government they must regulate certain things this is not avoidable it is party of the purpose of government... shit that's new.. making the anti regulation person defend regulations. Bravo, most others around here are so hard tile pro-regulation that they can't get me to defend it.

        For the same reason the Police, Water, & Fire Departments needs to be run by the government is the same reason that the poles and wires need to be run by the government except businesses offer bids on how improving infrastructure.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2018 @ 1:04pm

          Re: Re: Re: Oh please..

          >We just need to make sure public owns public property and NOT government.

          And who manages that public property on behalf of the public. There are two choices, government or a corporation. A corporation would be needed for it primary purpose, limiting the liability of the share holder, in this case the public, and officers so that their personal assets are not on the line to cover any outstanding debts,especially in the event of embezzlement or fraud on by another officer.

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      • identicon
        Annonymouse, 21 Jun 2018 @ 10:35am

        Re: Re: Oh please..

        Government = you the public own it

        This is the base infrastructure and last mile that does not need to be duplicated. Just like with water sewar road hydro etc. Rveryone needs it. Nobody wants to maintain it.

        As to maintenance and all that ... that is subcontracted to the most effective bidders... now auto renewal ... at least two vendors overlap .. etc etc ... just like any other infrastructure support system where encouraged competition keeps things at least superficially honest.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2018 @ 11:42am

      Re: Oh please..

      I don't see anything in NN that would disallow your solution. The timing is the problem: Why remove a house before you have built a new one to live in? Why go back to the "title I"-regulation and let the companies throttle to their hearts desire, and thereby scam their customers harder than the false advertised speeds give room for, before you break up the companies?

      Good for you that you dislike any regulation, but blaming it for something it doesn't prevent is deception.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2018 @ 11:59am

        Re: Re: Oh please..

        "I don't see anything in NN that would disallow your solution."

        I did not say that it didn't, I am saying it is a pointless pursuit and distraction.

        "Why go back to the "title I"-regulation"

        I only hate NN because of its distractions, not specifically because I want it gone... my position on NN is who cares, it does not solve the root problem, it just addresses symptoms of the root problem.

        "let the companies throttle to their hearts desire"

        The companies still already do that and also place limits on the lines in creative ways and are never going to be resolved. There are all sorts of plausible ways to throttle shit and still do it legally with or with NN in effect and people are ignorant that fact!

        "Good for you that you dislike any regulation, but blaming it for something it doesn't prevent is deception."

        That is a over general comment and can be used to mean anything. What specifically am I causing deception for, I will be happy to address it in detail.

        My general stance on regulation currently is that it is being "pedaled" as a solution when in reality it is one of the "causes" of this current problem. That is not deception, it is just a fact!

        This is the game.

        1. Business causes a problem.
        2. People call on government to fix it instead of using their free market powers to collective stop doing business with the business.
        3. Government creates regulation.
        4. Regulators start talking with businesses and set regulations.
        5. Soon a revolving door is built between regulators and regulated.
        6. The voice of the people are now removed from the discussion and regulators enter capture.
        7. Now businesses have obtained a government blessed monopoly and little fiefdoms are carved up for each business with a hand in the game to own and operate as they see fit with either little or no real competition.
        8. People no longer have a choice and MUST partipate or just go entirely without, a problem that their original calls for regulation created.
        9. Free-market has been long destroyed, yet still gets blamed for the problem by the left and touted by the right as though a free-market exists in a capacity to be effective.

        Both sides are liars and lost all at the same time. No one wants or takes responsibility they just want someone or something to blame, and therefor a solution will never come! We are now at this stage... what specifically happens next is anyone's guess, but I can tell you this... no matter what happens next, it will at least be worse that what was before because right now, only the politics matter to either side... facts be vigorously DAMNED!

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2018 @ 12:56pm

          Re: Re: Re: Oh please..

          A question: how in your world would a consumer deal with a scenario where by the time they get to step 2 of your process, a given business-practice "dark pattern" is not limited to one or two businesses within an industry, but has spread across an industry, or worse yet, across practically the entire business-to-consumer interface?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2018 @ 1:05pm

          Re: Re: Re: Oh please..

          And there you go, moving the goal-posts like you have done so many times before and will do again. I ain't going there sir factless argumentative texan.

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        • icon
          Kal Zekdor (profile), 20 Jun 2018 @ 3:04pm

          Re: Re: Re: Oh please..

          Wow, you'd make a terrible doctor.

          "Don't bother giving that patient anesthesia, pain is just a symptom of a larger problem."

          Besides which, sometimes all you can do is manage the symptoms. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronic_condition

          I'm glad you recognize that ISPs are causing problems, but the fact of the matter is that there is a natural monopoly at play here. "Let the market sort it out" isn't a viable option.

          There are only two real options to deal with these problems. One, relatively light touch NN regulations that curtail some of the more egregious behavior. Or, two, heavy handed regulation to enforce competition, such as Local Loop Unbundling.

          If you think the latter is a viable option in today's political climate, then you haven't been paying attention.

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 21 Jun 2018 @ 3:17am

          Re: Re: Re: Oh please..

          "1. Business causes a problem.
          2. People call on government to fix it instead of using their free market powers to collective stop doing business with the business.
          3. Government creates regulation."

          4. In countries where effective regulation is both encouraged and allowed, the problem is fixed and the public protected as requested, by regulators not beholden to corporate control. For some reason, this corporate interference is not only allowed, but considered inevitable by many in the US, so regulation is opposed and control handed to the corporations unrestricted. Then, useful idiots blame the regulators instead of the corporations for their problems and begin the cycle again.

          Fixed for reality.

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

          • icon
            Uriel-238 (profile), 21 Jun 2018 @ 9:59am

            Fixed for reality

            It doesn't work that way much in the United States, so I'd hardly call it reality

            I'd say it's maybe the way it's supposed to work, though to be fair the process is also vulnerable to moral panics.

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

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 22 Jun 2018 @ 2:21am

              Re: Fixed for reality

              "It doesn't work that way much in the United States, so I'd hardly call it reality"

              Reality is more than the US :) But, that was my point - the things that he states regulation cannot fix or is responsible for creating have been solved by effective regulation elsewhere. It the effectiveness part that needs work over there, not the existence of regulation as he claims.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 21 Jun 2018 @ 3:04am

      Re: Oh please..

      "I hate NN "

      In that case, I find it hard to believe that you have a clue about what it actually is.

      "I want the monopolies destroyed"

      As I thought. Removing network neutrality protections achieve directly the opposite effect.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    R_ogs, 20 Jun 2018 @ 10:23am

    beating around the Bush

    Sadly, all of the net neutrality hoopla is mediated by troll farms from Israel,Squad 3200, assloads of christurds in US military cyber ops in GA, MI, Tn,CA, MN, and WA....Fusion Center saviours, and speech police.

    And, JTRIG~FBI, local law enfarcement~ the FVEY alliance zionist/dominionists and shitloads of Israel First lobbyists and NGOs, sponsored by racist scum like Haim Saban, and their supplicants in the surveillance state/s.

    And Theil, of course, who certainly is running from a Nazi past, aided by zionists, who, somehow,(probably a cohencidence) always seem to stay one step ahead on every NSA~Israel dialogue online.

    https://theintercept.com/2018/06/20/haim-saban-bernie-sanders-israel-gaza-letter/

    Criticism of Israeli apartheid? Criticism of the lord of the Power Rangers?! Lashon Haaretz!


    Bad werdz!

    Anti~shemitismsismsmisms!

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

    • identicon
      Thad, 20 Jun 2018 @ 10:35am

      Re: beating around the Bush

      While I'm kind of flattered that my readership is so important to you that you're actively evading my name filter, I assure you that just because you put an underscore in your name doesn't mean I'm going to read your unhinged gibberish.

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        "rog_s", 20 Jun 2018 @ 10:49am

        Re: Re: beating around the Bush

        Put Thaddeus Boyd, aka "Thad" on auto flag..the guy cannot even sell his conspiracy theory childrens books, full of symbolic interactionism and satanic mysticism on Infowars.

        MoooOOving along now...

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    !ROGS!, 20 Jun 2018 @ 10:40am

    a beautiful mind....

    Mike Masnick has a beautiful mind.....

    ~often associated with free market and libertarian thought, and it's his clever and highly evocative way of explaining why destructive behavior -- while it may generate economic activity, is not good for the economy~

    Yup. The surveillance state in a nutshell.Foxes, eating chicken shit, and calling it steak.

    And, add the ACLUs report that DHS uses its armies of Paul Blart the Mall Cop as the eyes and ears of organized society, and you hit ROGS BINGO with broken/smashed/privacy raped policing.

    And, every mass shooter has had contact with these apes .

    Las Vegas shooter, New Mexico shooter, Newtown shooter, Jared Loughner/Giffords, Omar Mateen, Dahir Adan in..MN, Devin Kelley, Matt Riehl~ and so many others were picked off after they were "privacy raped" under the parallel constructed reality of so called pre-emptive policing, aka broken windows policing popularized by shitbags from NYPD, who work DIRECTLY with CIA.

    Sure..they are all crazy, whoever "they "are....

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

    • identicon
      Thad Will Be Doxd, 21 Jun 2018 @ 8:39am

      Re: a beautiful mind....

      What is cyber bullying for the win.

      Eat your own medicine much?

      You sure have a perverse take on your own piwrr.

      Try not to get SWATTED soon.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2018 @ 10:46am

    "Ajit Pai's FCC has fallen completely for the broken windows fallacy"

    I wouldn't say he's fallen for it so much as employed it.

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

    • icon
      Bamboo Harvester (profile), 20 Jun 2018 @ 1:37pm

      Re:

      Agreed. Too many are coming at this as though Pai (the entire government, actually) isn't fully aware of *exactly* what they are doing.

      Pai is just a talking head, paid to sell "Alternative Truth" to the peons.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 20 Jun 2018 @ 6:06pm

      Re:

      Yeah, I've long gone past the point of giving him the benefit of the doubt in assuming he's just stupid, and I struggle to understand how anyone could at this point.

      He's not stupid, he's corrupt.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    R_ogs!“”, 20 Jun 2018 @ 10:56am

    Your filter is just another laughable, and pathetic attempt by a McCain Republican/ Joe Arpaio liberal at limiting free speech, and open discourse online.

    Pathetic, like McCain, dragging his torture story around like an AIPAC golem for 40 years, while doing NOTHING about torture today.

    Typical stupid white people.

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

    • identicon
      Thad, 20 Jun 2018 @ 11:09am

      Re:

      _While I'm kind of flattered that my readership is so important to you that you're actively evading my name filter, I assure you that just because you put an underscore in your name doesn't mean I'm going to read your unhinged gibberish.

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        "rog_s", 20 Jun 2018 @ 11:37am

        Re: Re: THAD, the magician....

        Seriouusly pal, take a day off.ete bourne.


        The whole
        thing was summmed up Mathematically, before you wee Bourne.


        Your writing sucks, pandering to JTRIGs sweetheart, Just Kissass ROWLING, and Arpaio deep state Fusion Center wall.

        garbage minds....the whole lot of YOU.


        WHAT A SUCKER, YOU Harry Potter queerfolk magicians/moms badsment types you are....

        You are what the death of internet is in practice, with moron code usurping discourse.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2018 @ 11:01am

    I don't think that's sand he has his head stuck in...

    Just saying....

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      "rog_s", 20 Jun 2018 @ 11:40am

      Re: I don't think that's sand he has his head stuck in...

      Ostrich/ Iraq/Syria/ NSA bathtub photos of our kids.

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

  • icon
    discordian_eris (profile), 20 Jun 2018 @ 11:28am

    Mistakes By Masnick and Many Others

    In the same way, when the FCC focuses just on broadband infrastructure, it is ignoring the costs on everyone else who use the internet.

    You are making the fundamental mistake of considering Pai an honest bureaucrat. He is not, and never has been, an 'honest' employee of the FCC. He is employed by the FCC, yes. But he has always worked for Verizon, not his current employer. Throughout his government career he has made that very clear, in both what he says, and what he does (and doesn't do).

    I understand the impulse to 'try to be fair', to 'assume he is honest in his stated positions'. It's the same thing our judiciary does when it assumes cops are honest in their dealings with the public and the judiciary. And that fallacious assumption of honesty is one of the biggest mistakes made in the courts, and in how you report on Pai (and others).

    There are people who hold contemptible beliefs honestly. They are not good people. Forget that whole they are good people who are just mistaken about this topic(s). No. NO. They are bad people, full stop. Pai is one of those, a bad person, through and through. He's worse than many of these idiots though. His stated positions are not his. They belong to the people who will very well reward him when he leaves the government and returns to their direct employ.

    It is well and good, and maybe even proper, to assume that people will be honest in their dealings when they are in the government. However, when they have demonstrated from day one who they are, and who they really represent, it is mendacious in the extreme to treat them as an honest broker. Pai is not. Tom Wheeler came from a similar background, and while not perfect, he was basically an honest broker.

    To continue to treat Pai, Sessions, Christopher Wray and all the rest as 'honest brokers' is beyond wrong. It is a great disservice to everyone, including yourself, to treat them as such. They have an agenda, are damned sure they will win, and not calling them what they are, back stabbing bastards, is not the way to deal with them. They took an oath, they are forsworn, and are essentially worthless as human beings.

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 20 Jun 2018 @ 12:00pm

    you might add a few other stories..

    How the stock market ISNT the same as it was..and that the consumer has few if any rights with stocks he buys.

    Another goes like this..The law says that a TV channel/newspaper or other that Favors 1 candidate or group must give EQUAL time to the other side..
    So, insted the Party PAYS for an advertisement, AND also over PAYS for it..Any other group must pay Equal to what was paid before..
    ANY person who pays, can place ANY advert, saying anything they wish.. Even if its a group never seen before..
    Funny part is Truth in adverts, does not cover this.

    And the facts of economics are fairly simple if you word them right..Its those that convolute and want to hide things that make it hard..

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

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 20 Jun 2018 @ 12:07pm

      Re: you might add a few other stories..

      There is a strange law in our nation..Usury..

      And for all the Christians in this nation, no one abides by the bible in it..

      There are laws in many states on the MAX amount of interest a person can be charged.. Anywhere from 24-36%..
      EXCEPT..if you sign a contract saying otherwise..(in most states)

      In Idaho there is no such law..And Iv seen contracts with upto 100% return for a short term loan..

      Why are there so many laws with BACK DOORS??

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

      • icon
        discordian_eris (profile), 20 Jun 2018 @ 1:02pm

        Re: Re: you might add a few other stories..

        Lawyers. It's what's for dinner.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2018 @ 12:06pm

        Re: Re: you might add a few other stories..

        And for all the Christians in this nation, no one abides by the bible in it..

        It's inconvenient. Much like politicians, every religious group finds loopholes for its inconvenient rules. Tie a string around your neighborhood and nothing you do in that boundary counts as work... structure your mortgage in a baroque way, and it doesn't count as a loan...

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

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 20 Jun 2018 @ 1:41pm

    Alissa Quart's recent book.

    Today's guardian has an article discussing the obligate level of maintenance required to function in the middle class, which (Quart argues) is a common driving force for personal debt in the United States. It seems we have a lot of people who have way too many broken windows already.

    If we were to continue the parable, the glazer is (in this case) a form of responder, presuming most of his business is fixing broken windows. If windows were made of sterner stuff, and did not break often enough to require replacement, then the glazer might pick up additional trades to earn a living wage, but I'd wager, that if windows were stronger, he'd earn plenty from remodeling, as glass would be used for a larger portion of buildings (so it is with contemporary architecture, or at least 80s-era skyscrapers.)

    Each responder required of a society to function, whether masons, firefighters, roadworkers, plumbers or meteorologists¹ is someone who has to take a maintenance trade in lieu of a constructive trade, so the more that the society has to maintain itself, the lest it can expand or progress.

    ¹ Yes, some of these trades can be constructive as well, but the same thing applies, each roadworker maintaining old roads is a roadworker not constructing new roads. Each glazer replacing windows is a glazer not remodeling buildings to feature more windows.

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

  • icon
    Advocate (profile), 20 Jun 2018 @ 6:19pm

    Anything which cannot be taken to its logical extreme is not logical.

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

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 21 Jun 2018 @ 7:37am

    When somebody says something like "what would become of the glaziers if panes of glass were never broken" or "what would become of the street-sweepers if nobody threw some stuff on the ground" just reply:

    "SO WHY DON'T YOU KILL YOURSELF TO KEEP THE GRAVEDIGGER EMPLOYED?"

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

  • identicon
    Thaddeus Boyd, 21 Jun 2018 @ 8:45am

    as long as my NAMBLA subscription isnt messed with!

    Just sayin!

    Free speech~ its for the children.

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


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