Saturday, September 19, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #128: For a Free AND FAIR Market Economy

For many things, balance is the key.

According to The Associated Press, the FCC will propose rules to ensure Net Neutrality, that is to say, the free flow of information over the InterWebs and InterTubes.  In spite of all this quasi-libertarian (far right-wing Republican, perhaps?) paranoia against the Federal Government, a light touch by our public servants can ensure a good capitalistic market.  In other words, our market economy must strike a balance between free and fair.

Without the FCC trying to ensure Net Neutrality, the big telecommunications companies, especially the ones that charge us monthly for Internet access, would deem themselves the gatekeepers of information.  A totally anarchistic free market would likely (and quickly) devolve into a warlord-dictatorship situation, where the strongest few (especially those with the financial head-start) have control over the market.  With monopolies, collusion, and price-fixing, the once theoretically-free market becomes no longer free at all.  Information, access, and opportunity now belong to the highest bidder.

Your federal, state, and local governments should not be allowed to infringe upon First Amendment rights in a public forum.  The Internet, in broad strokes, looks like a globally public forum.  Well, technically and more specifically, the World Wide Web is full of private forums, and the owner(s) of each respective site get to determine content and the censorship thereof.  Your ISP should not be a part of this decision, for they do not own any sites other than their own domains and servers.  (They might have a case for some censorship for blogs or websites on their servers.)  If the largest of corporations are allowed to censor the Internet, then where is the liberty and freedom?  Granted, the Bill of Rights does not protect the American people from AT&T, Verizon, et al., but that is beside the point.  We elect government officials, and pay taxes to cover the cost of government, so government can work for us.  When there is a problem undefined by the Constitution, that's when our government can chime in to protect its citizens.  In other words:  A strong, but nuanced, touch by the federal government can prevent the telecoms from being Internet-censoring douchebags.

Keeping the market fair will ensure that it remains freer, longer.  Ensuring real choice tends to keep competitors as ethical as possible, if not honest (hahaha!).  Now if we apply the same "balanced capitalism" thinking to the health insurance market...

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