cr> re: Online PR: consensus; ad-hominem “charges”


Richard Moore

Dear c-r,

        I believe my ISP has been bouncing some messages, as I never
received a posting with subject "cr> Online PR: consensus".  So I'll try to
respond to Martin and Glen based on local context.

        I'm a bit at a loss as to how to respond, given that I'm faced with
a mixture of real policy issues, along with cheap ad-hominem shots that are
easy to refute, but somewhat insulting to have to deal with at all.  But,
alas, it's gotta be done...

Martin Janzen wrote:
>At least one list member thoroughly disapproves of Richard's socialistic
>visions, and does not want to be associated with any kind of public
>statement supporting anything that even remotely smacks of limiting the
>freedom of adult human beings to engage in any sort of consensual
>activities they desire -- even economic activities.  "Social democrat"
>control freaks are no better than Christian fundamentalist control freaks.

        It's tempting to refute that "socialist" label (which is _really_
far off the mark), or the implication that I begrudge people economic
activity (when my economic comments are all in favor of competition over
monopoly).  But I think the real thrust of the above "charge" is that I am
somehow "controlling" this list.  I imagine Andy, Craig and several others
found that a bit amusing, and most other subscribers must have noticed that
my missives rarely meet with agreement, let alone compliance.

        Martin - you're an observant fellow, why do you make such an
unsubstantiable charge?  Are you trying to tie me personally to some
position you disapprove of, as a way of attacking it?  Why don't you state
what position you _do_ support?  I think that would be more interesting,
more useful, and could still be a vehicle to show off your clever sarcasm.

        BTW> Is "adult human being" your code-word for "corporation"?
Otherwise I can't parse your arguments.

Glen Raphael wrote:
>No, we do *not* have consensus on this list. Richard's original posting was
>based on several false premises, among them:

>(1) free-market competition inevitably leads to near-monopoly

        Nothing like that was assumed nor concluded.  What _was_ claimed
(and argued) is that in today's USA telecommunications marketplace -- given
the new legislation, the players involved, and the nature of the
infrastructure -- there is an obvious monopolization strategy which is
available to the corporate entities, and one which they in fact seem to be
pursuing at collectie warp speed.  No generalizations intended or implied.

>(2) unregulated near-monopolies cause high prices

        Again, you're speaking at a level of generalization I haven't

        What _was_ claimed/argued is that the kind of marketplace most
familiar and attractive to the cyber operators, would be one very similar
to today's cable industry: some company(s) owns the channel(s) to your
home, and they can set the price you pay, within some bounds, as well as
the price a would-be content-provider must pay for the privilege of
reaching you.  I argued that such a monopoly opportunity does exist, and
that this is indeed the strategy being pursued.  What I haven't mentioned
recently, is that this is all spelled out explicitly in PFF's Magna Carta
(a kind of Mein Kampf of the cyber commercialization initiative).  A
document which, like Martin above, intentionally obfuscates the distinction
between corporations and human beings.

        In such an info-marketplace, I'm not claiming that the media
products offered will be over-priced.  On the contrary, we'll probably be
able to watch our favorite obscure director's-cut videos for less money
than the local video shop (which doesn't carry them anyway).  What I _did_
argue is that in such a marketplace non-profit traffic and democratic
discourse are going to find themselves out in the cold, with no permit to
operate in the cyber-mall.  And the mechanism of exclusion will be pricing
_structures_ (and possibly licensing).

>(3) government regulation is likely to improve on the market with respect
>to (1) and (2).

        Most assuredly.  In fact, in the case of communications, we were
operating under a fairly effective regulatory regime _prior_ to the Reform
Act. All kinds of exciting competition was going on, prices were being
driven down, Interet was thriving and growing, new consumer services were
coming online frequently, etc.  That regulatory regime took decades to
evolve, was adjusted several times to accomodate change, and achieved a
reasonably level playing field upon which free-enterprise could operate.

        The industry giants were faced with a bigger-faster-cheaper
declining revenue curve as cyber technology began to be deployed, and so
they changed the rules.  Not to foster more competition, but just the
opposite -- to enable monopolization and control of the market economics.
Again, these intentions were all clearly spelled out in Newt's Magna Carta.
My analysis is not speculation.

>The popular
>economic myth (which Richard apparently believes) about the robber barons
>is that their influence kept prices up

       I don't see retail prices as being a central issue -- more important
are market structures, political corruption, control over development
priorities, etc.  Not all monopolists are robber barons, and monopoly is
frequently the best regime.  The specific context must be taken into
account in each case.

>We should not be futzing around with ...
>limits to market concentration... and other
>barriers to competition.

        The tactic of "limiting market concentration" is intended to
_promote_ competition, and has succeeded admirably in doing so, until the
Deform Act came along.

>This is still a young industry; it needs time to
>grow unimpeded before we try training it to a stake.

        This is standard industry/Newt propaganda, and totally fallacious.
What I can never figure out about your style of "libertarianism" is whether
promoting corporate autocracy is your goal, or whether you're simply
deluded into identifying yourself with its agendas.  You know -- the
prisoner-identification-syndrome -- eg. when concentration camp inmates
identified with the SS guards.

Thank you for sharing,

    Posted by Richard K. Moore  -  •••@••.•••  -  Wexford, Ireland
     Cyberlib:  www | ftp -->