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June 10, 2006



I see by your picture that tou are young. This trend started before you were born and will continue until everything that is not prohibited will be mandatory.


I think much of the support for regulation comes from firms themselves. Have we ever seen a large movement by the business community opposing regulation, nothwithstanding their plentiful resources etc. I dont think so.
No better way for an incumbant to fend off competition from potential entrants than more regulations. This of course is just George Stiglers theory of regulatory capture. Its most ironic; regulations protect business and damage consumers. The very opposite of its intention; indeed the political left, what with their demand for ever greater regulations, are, in this sense, a friend of business.

Alan Brown

I think we are talking about a government created monopoly that happens to be regulated. I'm not sure removing the regulation would leave us in a freer position.

Still, this debate is fast becoming irrelevant with cable and other technologies ending the phone network's monopoly. At some point, the regulations will no longer make sense.

If you can get any data (TV, Phone, Internet, whatever) from cable or the phone company, we have competition and the argument for regulation goes away.

Not that it was ever a valid argument. Neighborhoods could have banded together and then bargained with the big players for a connection to the world, which is how some communities avoid getting locked into a monopoly in many parts of the world.

There are condo and apartment complexes in the US that due this for cable and pay pretty reasonable prices.

The same situation could work for electrity and natural gas too, although with probably longer contracts since the investment is greater than installing a satellite dish.

Mike Huben

If Miron took the time to do a little historical research, he'd know the answer to his silly question "How did we get to a situation where regulation is so obviously impeding rather than enhancing competition?"

Telephone companies were a regulated monopoly because they were a natural monopoly. The well-justified worry was that they'd extend their monopoly to cable as well, squashing competition and thus slowing and inhibiting development of new services.

Those regulations served their purpose. There are enough alternatives now that the threat is gone. Now the regulations can be discarded.

David Brin has taken a stab at reforming this libertarian myopia about American regulation in his The Other Foe of Free Enterprise: "The answer is that those demolished regulations (controlling banking, telecommunications, airlines, trucking, etc) were, in fact, anti-aristocracy measures which had had their day, but were now serving the interests of rent-seekers and monopolists."

Laurent GUERBY

"video programming"

An example of extremely wasteful government regulation : copyrights for video content and patents on video formats.

I'm really surprised you're not following more closely what Hayek said on this subject.

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