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back to article FCC net neutrality blueprint TRASHED by US appeals court

A US appeals court has ruled that net neutrality measures put in place by America's Federal Communications Commission are invalid. The FCC's latest attempt to compel ISPs to treat all traffic on an equal basis suffered a significant blow, after the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said (PDF): [E]ven …

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Unhappy

Land of the Free - To Rip Others Off

Thank whatever deity you favour if you are not in the land of the 'enslaved by corporate greed'

I wonder how much that ruling cost those Internet Service Preventers or the rotten no value providers?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Land of the Free - To Rip Others Off

Thank whatever deity you favour if you are not in the land of the 'enslaved by corporate greed

Ah, hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you're reading el reg then chances are you live in such a land even if you don't know it.

Cheer up though, the alternatives (religious fanaticism or poverty) aren't any better.

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Re: Land of the Free - To Rip Others Off

Listen to the song god damn uncle sam.

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Re: Land of the Free - To Rip Others Off

"Cheer up though, the alternatives (religious fanaticism or poverty) aren't any better."

False choices.

I can think of half a dozen modern countries that don't believe corporations have a god given right to do as they please, and yet, those companies stay, NAY, even THRIVE in those quite modern countries.

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Anonymous Coward

And so, here we find the beginning of the end. It starts, not with a bang, but with a whisper.

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FAIL

Oh Lovely!

So does this mean that we can now have "the internet brought to you by News International" instead of the real thing? Didn't AOL try this WAY back when with it's walled garden approach to the internet?

Rosie

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Black Helicopters

Why aren't they common carriers?

Does anyone know what it takes to declare an industry a common carrier? (The classification covers many facets of commerce, and in fact originated in the (physical) transport industries. For instance, interstate trucking is regulated as a common carrier by the Interstate Commerce Commission.)

Can the FCC simply re-evaluate their status and classify them as common carriers? Does it take legislation?

(Black helicopter, because such regulation is one more step toward One World. :-)

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Re: Why aren't they common carriers?

"For instance, interstate trucking is regulated as a common carrier by the Interstate Commerce Commission."

Trucking was deregulated with the abolishment of the ICC in 1995. While most trucking companies are still considered "common" carriers, because they will carry freight for anyone or any company (as opposed to "contract carriers"), in the U.S. the term mainly applies to telecommunications carriers.

http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/uscode/47/5/II/I

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Anonymous Coward

Seems reasonable to me

If you can be bothered to RTFR (Read The F*cking Ruling) you'll learn that the FCC has no authority to make rules for computer services, only for telephony services. That's a good thing, as the internet has grown without Hollywood or Google lobbying DC for new rules for their short-term advantage.

If telcos restrict data services they don't like, then they are foreclosing a route to market and that's a clear violation of laws that already exist. I have yet to hear a Net Neutrality advocate give me one concrete example of abuse which would *not* be caught by the FTC or the DOJ. The FCC was simply muscling into their territory.

Perhaps it's time to enforce those competition laws, rather than pissing about with sub-student political twattery like "Open Internet Orders".

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Re: Seems reasonable to me

If you want a country with no government regulation whatsoever and the pure, unbridled capitalism of an unhindered free market please go to Somalia. That is the land where greed unfettered has been deified, codified and enacted en masse.

The civilized world, on the other hand, prefers fewer monopolists, warlords, bullies and charlatans. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the you, even if the you happens to be a multi-billion dollar corporation. Net neutrality is about the freedoms of the people at large supplanting the freedoms of the plutarchy.

I fail to see a damned thing wrong with that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Seems reasonable to me

My cabs/buses/telephones/parcels don't have to serve this particular race/subset/consumer/content. I'm not breaking transport/telephony/postal regulations as it's not a limit applied in transit, but by my employers... I mean "computers" at either end.

Those kind of get out of jail free cards are as annoying as "it don't apply to me because I glued it to a mobile phone/device" excuses. :(

PS, surprised they don't just add a TV to every phone so they don't have to meet to telephony rules because it's "not a phone anymore it's a TV" and not meet broadcast rules because "it's not a TV it's a phone". :P

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Re: Seems reasonable to me

And yes, I will upvote this because indeed the issue is one of fair trading and consumer protection. Trying to use the common-carrier argument always struck me as strange.

Big fan of http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc4084

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Re: Seems reasonable to me

What part of Federal COMMUNICATIONS Commission are you missing?

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Re: Seems reasonable to me

Consumer protection? We are talking about America, where corporations have to be protected from the electorate, sorry, consumers.

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Re: The civilized world, on the other hand, prefers fewer monopolists,

No it doesn't. Sad but true. If it did we wouldn't be where we are. And no, American law does not allow the needs of some to outweigh constitutionally protected rights. Maybe they allow that in Canada, but I think even Old Blighty has similar levels of protection for people.

The court ruling in this instance is actually fairly narrow: the FCC was granted the power to regulate telecommunications, not internet or cable traffic. Congress could grant them that authority but hasn't. The FCC simply asserted they had the power. Which is the act of a tyrant/bully/charlatan.

And whatever good intentions you think you have will completely backfire by allowing the government to set Net neutrality rules. The real fix is in constitutionally granted powers: the Congress needs to step in and stop local governments from granting trade monopolies that interfere with interstate commerce.

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Anonymous Coward

@Trevor_Pott: What have you been smoking?

Looking at your posting history you seem to mention Somalia a lot. Did you expect a round of applause here? Do you usually get one?

http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/containing/2074219

http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/containing/2064230

You clearly have a problem with reading comprehension. Or some lightbulb popped off in your brain when you saw the Title text, and you hit self-righteous mode, and pulled out your favourite punchline. I’ll repeat my point : without regulation unfettered competition screws the consumer. It will naturally conclude. Got that? Now repeat it again three times. Good. I think we’re getting there.

The FTC and regulators should take their duties seriously and when I last looked they were happy with the massive concentration of power in the telco sector. Now, given that the internet has grown for 20 years with no explicit “Open Internet Orders”, and bearing in mind the law of unintended consequences every new regulation must be justified. You seem completely unable to do make the case for new regulation.

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Re: @Trevor_Pott: What have you been smoking?

"without regulation unfettered competition screws the consumer."

Bullshit.

Unfettered competition benefits the consumer by driving down the margins of the providers and commoditising their wares. It is only when those providers are allowed to consolidate into a monopoly or to engage in anti-competitive practices that the consumer is screwed. Massive competition benefits consumers. Regulations need to ensure competition and restrict viciously the ability of any company to restrain competition.

"The FTC and regulators should take their duties seriously and when I last looked they were happy with the massive concentration of power in the telco sector."

At least we can agree on something. The FTC are a bunch of weak-kneed chumps with no political will and even less backbone.

"Now, given that the internet has grown for 20 years with no explicit “Open Internet Orders”

Woah, woah, woah. Stop right there. "New nodes have been added to the network" does not mean that the internet's direction has been good in any way. The internet used to be neutral: all packets were the same, no discrimination against any service, individual, region, etc. There was healthy competition at one point...not "Google turns off and internet traffic drops by 40%."

We used to be looking at expanding last mile infrastructure, with companies bringing fibre to the premesis and an overall understanding amongst consumers and providers that everyone would eventually be wired up, no different than the POTS requirements.

Instead, we have a series of emerging monopolies. We can carriers that are fighting tooth and nail to avoid putting in last-mile infrastructure, demanding instead to be allowed to provide third-rate connectivity via wireless. We have the data providers merging with content creation companies and massive legal battles being fought to prevent independent content providers from emerging.

We have artificial scarcity in the form of data caps and we have had continued attempts to play favourites by either making carrier-owned content provisioning immune to data caps or to outright prevent third party companies from providing service. We've also had shenanigans where your last mile providers have tried to play silly-nilly with CDNs in order to thwart independant content providers because they felt they were somehow "entitled" to double dip on carriage charges.

"and bearing in mind the law of unintended consequences every new regulation must be justified."

The internet used to be a network of openness and equality. There are more people on it now, and more services, but that equality has been dramatically eroded in the name of "capitalism." The reason it has been eroded is that your pathetic regulators have allowed companies to engage in anti-competitive practices.

Competition is good for consumers. Repeat that three times. Got it? Good. Now do it again, because you don't seem to be capable of understanding that.

That you feel unfettered capitalism is a good thing while pooh-poohing unfettered competition (capitalism in practice is about the creation of monopolies and consortiums...something antithetical to competition) is why I bring up Somalia. That's where you'll find your unfettered capitalism. No regulations. No government.

I far prefer competition, as competition is good for the people. Oddly enough, I tend to side with the 99%, as you - or anyone else - seem completely unable to prove that bullshit like "tickle down economics" actually works. Allowing megacorporations to run roughshod over the people is never the answer. Competition - good for the people - is.

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Re: @Trevor_Pott: What have you been smoking?

Can only speak to my own experience here and not the OP's but whenever I hear a libertarian talk about how they wished their country truly was libertarian paradise I always wonder why don't they move to the one libertarian paradise on earth Somalia?

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Re: @Trevor_Pott: What have you been smoking?

> the one libertarian paradise on earth Somalia

While some libertarians do feel Somalia is utopia, China and Russia are arguably more libertarian paradises than Somalia is. In China and Russia being rich and connected puts you above the law -- if you're rich and connected you can literally do anything, provided you don't piss off someone even richer and even better connected -- which really is all there is to libertarianism.

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Re: @Trevor_Pott: What have you been smoking?

Massive competition leads ineluctably to monopoly, as Adam Smith so rightly observed, because, while competition might be good for consumers, it is not good for producers, and they eventually think 'why don't we band together and stop cutting our collective throats and make the consumer our bitch?' Massive competition also leads to safety and quality cuts, not necessarily where the consumer touches the product (your mobile) but in the making of it. Massive fires/collapses/slavery in Third-World countries, loss of jobs in First World countries, and their increased impoverisation (I am thinking here of the American South), are all part of a system of capital without constraints. I am all for a capitalist system because, on the whole, it has led to more happiness than any other system so far created by humans, but history and present practice shows us that this gallant steed must be controlled by bridle and, if necessary, spur, to stop it trampling so many underfoot.

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Re: @Trevor_Pott: What have you been smoking?

"Massive competition leads ineluctably to monopoly"

Capitalism is unfettered competition without regulation. Monopoly and cartels become the norm. Capitalism has led to massive amounts of human misery in the form of globalisation; slavery by another name, but wrapped in comforting words like "profit" that make libertarians feel good with themselves.

Social democracy is competition with regulation. It restrains monopoly and encourages competition. It causes producers to drive margins down and down and down...until they reach the lowest sustainable margins possible. That is good for society as a whole.

Things that are bad for society as a whole:

1) Globalisation

2) Zero regulation

3) Massive and increasing wealth gap

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the you. No matter how important you think you are.

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Re: @Trevor_Pott: What have you been smoking?

I look at this this way. Capitalism is "Winner Economics": Economic Darwinism, in a sense.

It has a good side and a bad side. The good news is that high levels of competition forces firms to be lean and to woo customers. The bad news is that many firms can't keep up at this level and they start to fall away to winners, which will in turn look towards the remaining competition. IOW, it ultimately results in a few well-funded bullies who can squeeze the smaller players out and then fight amongst each other until there is "one firm to rule them all".

I think the closest analogue to how capitalism operates is an open poker tournament. Everyone buys in with the same amount of cash. Gradually, players fall away and the winners take their proceeds. Eventually, you end up with big chip holders who can bully the table around. And eventually, one player emerges as the winner.

Sure, you can sometimes disrupt the market if you're lucky (like undercutting the market or flopping quads), but if a firm is big enough, they can withstand such a disruption and wear you out (winning an all-in bet with quads doesn't mean much if you're at a 1-to-8 disadvantage against your opponent--you need several breaks to turn the tables, and odds are against you there).

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Re: @Trevor_Pott: What have you been smoking?

"I look at this this way. Capitalism is "Winner Economics": Economic Darwinism, in a sense."

I don't disagree. I simply don't believe this is a good way to run a society.

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Re: @Trevor_Pott: What have you been smoking?

trev, you don't know what a monopoly is do you? its regulation in favour of a firm or a number of firms,

social democracy is merely 50%+1 might is right. how does social democracy restain monopoly ? it can't because it hates heresy or choices. How does it drive margins down? by limiting choice and veriation, if the customer is allowed it at all.

Globalization, zero regulation by the state are postive boon IMHO and the last is problem caused by the state's monopoly over money and the financiers utilizing that monopoly to their own advantage.

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Re: @Trevor_Pott: What have you been smoking?

"trev, you don't know what a monopoly is do you? its regulation in favour of a firm or a number of firms,"

No, a monopoly is when one firm has control of an entire market. A cartel is when a small number of firms work together to divvy up a market amongst themselves and act in a concerted fashion to control it. Both monopolies and cartels artificially inflate margins, viciously oppose change and erect massive barriers to entry.

Monopolies can be created by regulation. Monopolies and cartels are far more often created by market forces, as they are the inevitable end result of unfettered capitalism.

"social democracy is merely 50%+1 might is right."

Incorrect. Social democracy observes protection mechanisms to ensure that "the tyranny of the majority" does not oppress the minority. It also attempts to employ mechanisms to ensure that "the tragedy of the commons" is avoided; something libertarian capitalists are adamantly against.

"[Social democracy] can't because it hates heresy or choices."

Social democracies are typically secular, so heresy means nothing to them. (Versus several capitalist nations which are either official or de facto theocracies.) As for choice: social democracy embraces choice in a way that capitalism never can, because it regulates against monopolies and cartels and works to lower barriers to entry into markets.

"How does it drive margins down?"

Social democracies drive down margins by lower barriers to entry into markets and preventing abuse of market dominance via regulating against anti-competitive practices. Social democracies are strongly against cartels; they do not allow companies to carve up a market and act in a concerted fashion to artificially inflate margins or create artificial scarcity.

Social democracies drive down margins by ensuring competition. They work en see that "any kid in his garage with a good idea" can enter a market and disrupt it, even if there is only one real incumbent who has functional market dominance. This is achieved by limiting the anti-competitive measures they can enact as well as government funding of research, small businesses, education and more. Even centralized funding of health care is a massive boon to entrepreneurs as they then do not have to bear that burden themselves.

"Globalization, zero regulation by the state are postive boon IMHO and the last is problem caused by the state's monopoly over money and the financiers utilizing that monopoly to their own advantage."

Then you're an idiot. Globalisation never benefits the proles. Wages go down to the lowest common denominator while prices end up regionalised. Globalisation is all about ensuring multinationals can obtain labour at the lowest rates and materials from countries without ecological regulation (i.e. they have no regulations to prevent tragedy of the commons.)

Nowhere does it bring benefits to the regular punter. That new iPhone made with slave labour and by poisoning a province of China is not cheaper because it was made with that slave labour or because the tragedy of the commons was ignored. No, siree....you pay extra deluxe margin because you live in a "first world" nation (I use that term very loosely when referring to the USA.)

Zero regulation is something we can see the effect of by looking at a real world practical example. The nation is called Somalia. That is a country with no government, thus no possible government interference. It is hardly a juggernaut of economic might.

So I am going to have to conclude that you simply don't know what you are talking about. I am going to leave you with two goals you must meet in order to prove to me that your point of view is anything other than abject lunacy:

1) Prove to me that "tickle down economics" works. This is a fundement of unfettered libertarianism capitalism as the philosophies of zero regulation and globalisation do not allow for a means of addressing the wealth gap other than "trickle down economics." Prove that it works. Not fairly fairly dreams, wishes and beliefs. Cite at least three real world examples that involve populations of at least 15 million individuals.

2) Prove to me that deregulation increases competition in the long term. CIte at least 5 real world examples of industries that achieved commoditisation and then did not undergo natural collapse into a monopoly or cartel. Explain how these industries managed to keep the barriers to entry low and competition was maintained despite increasingly thin margins. History for those markets should cover at least 50 years to ensure that we have a long enough economic sample size to judge to the trends related to commoditisation.

Cheers.

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Re: @Trevor_Pott: What have you been smoking?

I think I can sum this up:

Competition (which is good) without regulation risks becoming monopolies (which are bad).

Regarding economic 'Darwinism', like Trevor, I don't disagree but also don't believe it's the best way to run things.

In nature, survival of the fittest ensures that a species has the best chance for survival (as a whole), which is an objective benefit to that species - obviously.

Applied to economics, the problem is that profit is not an objective benefit to the species Homo sapiens. It only becomes a benefit when a society is structured in such a way as to preference individual acquisition of profit over other concerns.

Such preferencing can lead to an odd situation where (e.g.) someone laid-off by IBM who also holds shares in the company, might have lost his job but will see the value of his shares rise due it.

They way I think about things is to approach the problem from the end and work backwards; "what is the goal?"

For me, it seems obvious that giving every human being on the planet a good quality of life is the most important goal. The question then becomes, how do we structure society to best achieve that.

I don't believe that un-regulated capitalism is the answer.

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Re: @Trevor_Pott: What have you been smoking?

"it seems obvious that giving every human being on the planet a good quality of life is the most important goal"

The problem is that libertarians don't share this goal. For all too many the goal is to enhance their personal quality of life above that of others, even if - sometimes all the better if - that leads to enslavement, torture, maiming, rape and/or death of those other individuals.

There are people who seek to create a rising tide that lifts all boats and then there are people who seek dominance. Never the twain shall meet.

Given that I've not got a yen for subservience, I think that I'll resist those who desire dominance. No matter what it costs.

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Re: @Trevor_Pott: What have you been smoking?

@Trevor_Pott - I did say it was obvious for me : )

Your comment about 'any kid in a garage' was very similar to what I wrote but excluded in an effort to avoid the wall of text I usually end up with.

You hit the proverbial nail, but I would add that this situation also affects innovation.

With a monopoly (or cartel), competition is near non-existent and this can lead to stagnation. Regulation allows people to compete - and succeed - based on their hard work and innovation.

Again, you have to start with what you see as the goal. If the goal is just profit then monopolies are perfectly acceptable and a system that allows (or even encourages them) is fine. If, however, you set your goals as adding to the pool of human knowledge and the creation of new (or improved) goods for consumers then whatever system you employ, it must prevent monopolies.

This of course has a parallel in patents - which ideally should incentivise people to help society achieve those goals (of innovation, creation, and provision of goods) rather than form barriers in the form of overly broad or 'obvious' patents.

I like your reference to the 'tragedy of the commons'. It's worth noting that the more removed someone is from a common resource, the more likely they are to deplete that resources and 'ruin it for everyone'. Thus local fishermen (who rely on the same fishing grounds each season) are far more likely to preserve fish stocks than a large company operating a fleet of super-trawlers, as they can far more easily move on to another resource.

Likewise air quality (also considered a common resource) - people living in an area have more incentive to preserve the air quality that a big multi-national that wants to open a factory there.

Back to the question of glorifying the pursuit of profit as the ultimate good, studies repeatedly show that more socialist democracies (like Norway and Sweden, etc..) routinely have a better quality of life* than less socialist democracies. People with an ingrained libertarian, 'frontier' mentality rail against it but the numbers are there.

Amongst developed nations, per-capita income and GDP is not a measure of the quality of life or the happiness of a population.

* - Things like the health of the population, poverty, crime, education, gender equality, child welfare, etc . . .

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Re: @Trevor_Pott: What have you been smoking?

"Globalisation never benefits the proles. Wages go down to the lowest common denominator while prices end up regionalised"

Amen, amen.

That's why you can have a piece of electronic equipment designed by an English company but manufactured and shipped from Taiwain and yet somehow costs more in Australia (5,500 km) than it does in the US (11,000 km). Amazingly, it is likely to also be more expensive in the UK than the US.

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Re: @Trevor_Pott: What have you been smoking?

"Looking at your posting history you seem to mention Somalia a lot. Did you expect a round of applause here? Do you usually get one?"

Perhaps Somalia is mentioned a lot, because you're allowed to use a good example more than one time?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Trevor_Pott: What have you been smoking?

@Killraven

"Perhaps Somalia is mentioned a lot, because you're allowed to use a good example more than one time?"

Right-wingers used to tell people who want more effective business regulation that "if you like socialism so much, why don't you go to Russia?"

Trevor Pott tells people who disagree with him "to go to Somalia".

I don't really see the difference. They are both moronic responses.

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Childcatcher

Re: 'Capitalism is "Winner Economics": Economic Darwinism'

Or more honestly: Gangster Economics in a predatory society.

Surely an enlightened society should aspire to something a little more compassionate.

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Re: the internet's direction has been good in any way.

Who died and made you God? Because only God can impartially make that determination.

Where I come from, since we generally don't agree about who is talking to God, we generally let the market decide. Given the growth in the market and the willingness of people to continue to buy it's service it seems to be going in a direction that most consumers consider good, regardless of your petty prejudices.

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Re: Monopolies are not the norm with unfettered capitalism.

It was a quaint theory, but one which when we dropped the stones instead of accepting Aristotle's brilliance in logic, turned out to be wrong. Only governments can grant monopolies, and even then only within limits in within their boundaries. Yes, some businesses may try to form a Cartel. But without the threat of murder, they tend not to hold together or withstand new businesses arising that will undercut them. We saw this back in the 1980s with OPEC. Everybody thought they had us literally over a barrel. The Reagan deregulated the oil industry, Great Britain developed the North Sea and the ability of the cartel to control the price of oil collapsed. The regulatory idiots like you came back in and re-enabled the cartel's price fixing ability. Until just now fracking, in spite of the best effort of regulatory madmen, is once again collapsing the cartel's price fixing ability; even to the point that the normally-placid-because-they're-sitting-on-a-100-year-supply-of-oil Saudis are concerned that we will destroy their cartel.

In fact, the very oligopoly you are current decrying is a result of the the US government grant Ma Bell a telephone monopoly on phone service all in the name of getting it deployed to every house the the US.

Globalization is inevitable. We have fast travel and fast communication. The people living in mud huts who have a wireless connection and computer connected to their diesel powered generator are going to be able to compete with programmers in their brick houses in Toronto or Cardiff. Deal with it.

Not zero regulation, minimal. Only the amount necessary to prevent fraud or coercion. Not the amount that is indistinguishable from coercion.

Massive wealth gaps happen when we let governments over-regulate the economy while granting monopolies to their crony friends or other forms of outright corruption all being protected in the name of helping "the little people." Which is exactly what happened with TARP and the Fed's QE programs.

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Re: operates is an open poker tournament.

And in one short line you make the fundamental flaw of all redistributionist theories: The pie isn't fixed. Real economic activity produces new stakes. The guy who lost all his chips can go get more and rejoin the game. New players can enter the game at any time.

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Re: monopoly is when one firm has control of an entire market.

So you really are economically illiterate.

A monopoly or monopolistic competition (oligopolies, cartels, and differentiated markets [Apple]) occur when firms in a market can set the price to earn an economic instead of normal profit. It's the price setting power that is the problem, not the number of firms in the market.

But that very act creates the normalizing forces that will destroy them unless they have government protection. Since they have an economic profit, it behooves another firm to move into their market and undercut their price. The only problem(s) is/are potential barriers to entry in the market. Usual barriers are the amount of capital or labor needed or government regulation; of the three only government regulation is nearly impossible to overcome unless you are the incumbent.

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Re: monopoly is when one firm has control of an entire market.

Tom 13 wrote: So you really are economically illiterate....

It's the price setting power that is the problem, not the number of firms in the market.

It appears to me that you have a lack of understanding of language. The definition of the word Monopoly is clear:

A monopoly (from Greek monos μόνος (alone or single) + polein πωλεῖν (to sell)) exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity

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Re: @Trevor_Pott: What have you been smoking?

@Anonymous Coward

You espouse belief in magic: that a lack of government regulation will somehow make everything better...yet you offer no proof...while those who argue that regulation is necessary can offer centuries of economic evidence.

Given this, I fail to see why you wouldn't want to go to Somalia. It is a country that is currently experimenting with your philosophy on a grand scale. There's nothing "moronic" about it; it is currently the best example of a country without government regulation.

If someone told me that they want a nation where religion what predominant and that doctrine superseded science as the basis of decision-making I would tell them that Iran is a great example of where this occurs today. Similarly, there are several other countries in the Middle East they could visit to see how that works out.

Meanwhile, as someone who believes in secular, evidence-based legislation in a society whose goals are based on the tennets of social democracy, I too have exemplar nations. Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Estonia and several others.

I then judge economic and cultural philosophies by looking at nations that are the purest examples of those philosophies as currently applied. The current purest example of the libertarian anarchist ideal is Somalia. I hold that up to the current "purest" example of a social democracy (Denmark) and choose social democracy.

You are free to believe in what you wish, though I fail to understand why you believe turning a nation towards Somalia rather than Denmark is somehow appealing.

Nor, for that matter, have you answered any of my questions or challenges to even begin to prove that your libertarian anarchist ideology would not result in Somalia when applied to a nation. You simply call people names and continue to assert that your belief system is true. That's religion, no matter how you dress it up. Faith, not fact.

And since you seem insistent on turning to faith in order to combat fact, then I must declare your faith null and void, as the One True Faith is that of His Noodly Self. I suggest you familiarize yourself with it.

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Re: monopoly is when one firm has control of an entire market.

"But that very act creates the normalizing forces that will destroy them unless they have government protection. Since they have an economic profit, it behooves another firm to move into their market and undercut their price. The only problem(s) is/are potential barriers to entry in the market. Usual barriers are the amount of capital or labor needed or government regulation; of the three only government regulation is nearly impossible to overcome unless you are the incumbent."

Explain natural or "de facto" monopolies, then. They can occur because the barrier of entry is inherently high. For example, utilities industries that require lots of eyesore infrastructure to operate, like an electric or sewage company. If a rival firm wanted to butt in, they'd have to install THEIR OWN infrastructure alongside theirs, creating a NIMBY situation that's pushed by the people, not the government. Here, the incentive to create competition is countered by the NIMBY disincentive.

Similarly, some resources (like spectrum) are physically limited (there's only so much spectrum to go around, they have fundamental limitations, and the maximum amount of raw data they can carry is fixed according to mathematical calculations) and have no practical alternatives (Know anything else nonphysical and undetectable to human senses that can work through solid walls over long distances?). These would need to be regulated or someone will eventually gain control of all of it. Here, the resource is practically irreplaceable, precluding any kind of disruptive force.

Lastly, even if neither scenario was in place, a monopoly could obtain enough power over the market to be able to weather a disruption or even coerce the acquisition of said disruption. That's why I use the poker example. Even in a "rebuy" tournament (where one can buy back into the game), you're still at a disadvantage against a chip leader with a huge chip count advantage over you. Even with several rebuys, the chip leader can still bully you around AND withstand a few all-in losses from you only to take it all back by winning one himself. IOW, the disruption would have to be an absolute game-changer or the monopoly still has a chance to withstand or absorb the competition.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Trevor_Pott: What have you been smoking?

This is possibly the funniest thread EVER at The Register.

OP: We need strong business regulation

Trevor Pott: (brain exploding) "You are a libertarian! GO TO SOMALIA!"

OP: No I'm not a libertarian - we need strong business regulation.

Trevor Pott: "You are a libertarian! GO TO SOMALIA!"

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Gold badge

Re: @Trevor_Pott: What have you been smoking?

No, it went more like this:

OP: "Net neutrality is completely unnecessary regulation, as the existing non-"open internet" regulations (which basically gives telcos carte blanche regarding data services) are just fine."

Me: "You are advocating getting rid of - and preventing in the future - regulations that are good for the overwhelming majority of people so that Telcos can erect barriers to entry, create artificial scarcity, drive down quality and reduce innovation...all in the name of profit. That's pretty goddamned shortsighted of you. You should really look at Somalia - a nation with no government regulation - to see how well that sort of idiocy works out."

Several libertarians: "regulation is the devil! It is what causes all of the world's problems!"

Me: "Incorrect. Here's why. Here is what you need to do in order to prove me wrong."

The OP did not call for stronger business regulation at all. The OP called for significantly less business regulation and a maintenance of the status quo...a status quo that is emphatically not favourable to the average punter.

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Silver badge

Re: @Trevor_Pott: What have you been smoking?

I think you've got the OP's position backwards and the argument was somewhat more educated than just throwing labels around but, regardless, that made me laugh.

Sorry Trevor - I still agree with you, that just made me laugh.

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Re: @Trevor_Pott: What have you been smoking?

It is always possible I misread something. The forum gives the fellow the ability to come in and correct me if I misread him. Rereading what he wrote, I still stand by my original interpretation of "status quo good, pro-citizen regulation bad." If that wasn't the view he intended to communicate then I have to say he sucks at communicating.

Subsequently there were no comments by the OP attempting to say "hey, you've misinterpreted me, I actually think regulations that prevent corporations from screwing over an entire nation are probably a good idea." Instead there was a truckload of right-libertarian crazy careening around drunkenly with it's brakes cut.

If I did misinterpret the OP, well shucks, sir, I'm sorry. I'd be interested to know what you intended to write in a better communicated and more detailed post. If, however, my assessment of the OP as defending the status quo is correct, then I don't apologize in the least and I hope he's the first to have his bill raised and his access restricted when ISPs realize they have carte blanche to wreck the market.

Wibble wobble wubble.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Trevor_Pott: What have you been smoking?

Hilarious thread.

Yes, Trevor, you misread what I wrote completely - or only read the Title and not the post itself. Then your brain exploded and you started ranting about libertarians and Somalia.

Then repeated it.

You can't even bring yourself to apologise gracefully - but I accept it anyway. The subtleties are of regulation are probably beyond your comprehension anyway.

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Re: @Trevor_Pott: What have you been smoking?

Well, if that was indeed you and you were intending to communicate something different than I interpreted, I do apologize for that. I also recommend that you take remedial English as you suck at communicating. Regardless of your intent you really did come off as an anti-natural-person right-wing libertarian, at least to me. If it makes you all angsty that I have zero respect for individuals with that ethos, too bad.

Also: please go to Somalia simply on account of you being a huge douche, regardless of your personal belief systems. There now, can we haz be friends nao? Cheers.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Trevor_Pott: What have you been smoking?

"You espouse belief in magic: that a lack of government regulation will somehow make everything better...yet you offer no proof."

No, I argued for stronger business regulation. You misread it and have been desperately trying to bluff your way out. Ever heard of the phrase "when in a hole, stop digging?"

"Regardless of your intent you really did come off as an anti-natural-person right-wing libertarian, at least to me."

That's my point. Anyone who isn't Michael Moore probably looks like a libertarian to you. You are so self-righteous you have lost the ability to listen or read well enough to understand an argument. So you repeatedly bluster how virtuous you are, and how unlike those evil straw men you are.

What a pathetic display, Pott.

Man up.

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Does that mean we can sue them for allowing attacks through?

If the following happens: lawyers are the only winners.

I'm not a lawyer and my memory is often faulty but:

I remember some of the pre-internet central services (CompuServe and the like) enjoyed some protection in the US from being sued as long as they didn't tweak the bits passing through. When one of them did start doing some blocking, it was in a position to be sued for harmful content making it past the filters. Essentially they lost the common carrier protection from being sued over content.

So, can we all start suing our ISP's for letting through attacks now?...and then sue when content we want is blocked by them trying to block attacks?

I really REALLY prefer common carrier/net neutrality-ish* but if that isn't the case: should an ISP have the

advantages of a common carrier if they aren't one?

* those of us managing networks don't get to live in an entirely black and white world.

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Re: Does that mean we can sue them for allowing attacks through?

While common carrier may provide that protection, in the case of the internet it is an explicit protection for unedited material.

Expecting the ISPs to filter traffic is a double-edged sword. Filtering means they have to be able to read it. If they can read it, is it still private? Probably not. Given that I have one foot firmly in both camps and am willing to live with the status quo.

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Unfortunately for you, Somalia did do better as an anarchist region (obviously not first world better but of comparable nations) until the US backed Ethiopian Invasion of 2007 which prompted the El Shabab people to unhelpfully take up the standard of errm 'defenders of the people'.

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