Re: cr> Online PR: consensus


(Note from moderator: our discussion of pricing and media control has
led inexorably to a discussion of the role of markets and the history
of capitalism.  While each person's beliefs about these issues will
naturally determine his or her reaction to the Internet debate, we
cannot discuss the more general issues ad infinitum.  That is what
happens on thousands of mailing lists and newsgroups all over the
Internet, and it never succeeds in convincing anyone to change
opinions--only in driving people away.  You'll also note that the
conversation takes a denigrating and sarcastic tone when these issues

(So I'm going to post the latest crop, but ask people to take the
general debate to private email from now on.  In further postings to
this list, please address the issues as they relate to the Internet,
telecommunications, and the information infrastructure.--Andy)


Sender: •••@••.••• (Allen  L  Marshall)
Subject: Is Socialism an ugly word?

Martin Janzen wrote:

<cite>"Social democrat" control freaks are no better than Christian
fundamentalist control freaks.</cite>

I'd hardly call Richard a control freak.  And I think the term "Socialist"
is being bandied about on this list like we're in a McCarthy hearing.

(Of course, I admit my own prejudices.  I'd probably not complain if the
word "Libertarian" was tossed around in the same way.  Jab intended, finger
not pointed.)

I'm going to have to use the words "we" and "our" in the following.
Hopefully you'll understand why when I'm done.

WE will get nowhere unless we are organized.  OUR goal, for the moment, is
to kick these familytary nazis out of the 'Net.  Let parents police their
own children.  Law enforcement has bigger problems than a ten year old
whacking off in front of "Babes in Boyland".

Too few people attacked our legislators when we should have and now we have
to pay the price.  We have to get together now, determine what we need to
fight for and fight for it.  It does no good to say, "keep out".  You can't
piss on your computer and say, "There, I've marked my territory, and I
don't want anyone saying what I should do with it."

That only results in a wet desk.

<snailto:Allen Marshall, PO Box 14, Beverly, NJ 08010 USA>


Sender: •••@••.•••

You don't have to be ignorant of history to be a libertarian, but it SURE

Glen Raphael:
>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

Not inevitably.  There CAN be non-market conditions (geography, custom,
technological limits, etc) that prevent this in many cases.  But there are
good reasons why "free-market" competition leads to near-monopoly in many
cases, reasons which have nothing to do with the social value produced.

>(2) unregulated near-monopolies cause high prices

Gee, isn't this an article of LIBERTARIAN faith???

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

Of course, (3) depends on government agenciers being free from the influence
of the regulated coporations -- something that's NEVER happened in recorded

>Richard is big on Rockefeller comparisons, so let's look at that: the chief
>anti-competitive complaint made against Rockefeller was not that his prices
>were too high; it was that Standard Oil used every technological innovation
>available and thereby *decreased* oil prices and increased oil quality so
>quickly that it was hard for others to compete.

Um, yeah, right.  And he never struck any anti-competitive deals with the
railroads, right?  Sorry, dude, but strategic underselling (i.e. "dumping")
is one of the traditional means for establishing monopolies.  It doesn't
prove that near-monopolies are good for consumers.  It proves that the "free
market" is not the egaltarian domain that Libertarian ideologues claim it to

>This is one reason that the
>current consensus view of economists is that the late 19th century trusts
>were pro-consumer and breaking them up was anti-consumer.

I assume he means the consensus view of Hoover Insititue, the Cato Institute
and the American Enterprise Institute.  As if this is supposed to prove

>The popular
>economic myth (which Richard apparently believes) about the robber barons
>is that their influence kept prices up; the reality is that prices fell
>faster in the more concentrated industries than anywhere else.

The railroads, Glen, the railroads.  They OWNED Congress.  They didn't rent,
they OWNED!

>What we need right now is for Congress and the FCC to stay OUT of this
>competition, and to simply let anybody offer any service at any price. If
>AT&T wants to try their hand at the ISP business, let them; personally I
>think they won't succeed but the competition will generally drive prices
>down whether they do or not.

Wait a sec, I thought you were just arguing that NO competition drove prices
down the fastest!

Ooops, I forgot!  Libertarians believe in the free market -- any idea they
can sell you, not any idea that logical connects with the one immediately
preceding it!

>We should not be futzing around with mandated
>discounts, limits to market concentration, price controls, and other
>barriers to competition. This is still a young industry; it needs time to
>grow unimpeded before we try training it to a stake.

Yeah, let them make super-profits now.  When the rate of profit falls, then
pulll the government in to subsidize 'em!  Screw folks as consumers first,
then as taxpayers!

Socialism for the rich!  The closet libertarian battlecry!

Paul Rosenberg
Reason & Democracy

"Let's put the information BACK into the information age!"


Sender: John Whiting <•••@••.•••>

Certain corresponsents have a unique perspective on the events
unrolling before their eyes. As the Wests's newly-rediscovered
laissez-faire economic policies consolidate the ownership of 
established corporations and widen the extremes between rich and 
poor, we are told that the end-product is lower prices. 

I suggest that they go back to their high-school history books
and turn the page. Prices were forced down so as to drive 
competitors out of business, whereupon the prices escalated.
In England we are experiencing a tornado of rising costs for
domestic services brought about by privatization followed by
piratization. In Net services, of _course_ the first result of
free competition will be a bonanza for all. No thanks. When I
want excitement and mayhem I'll move to Moscow.

John Whiting


Sender: •••@••.•••

quit attacking each other, dammit!

could you point out exactly what you would like to do, and exactly what
sucked about marilyn's letter.  i read it and found no 'social democrat
control freak' parts in it.  we will descend into rhetoric if all that we are
told of each other's opinions is an objection to a letter of agreement about
an idea that i can't remember.

here's how i see it.  since we obviously are one big infighting family, then
it looks like we need to change how we argue.  we cannot attempt to pass
everything by everybody all at once as congress does, because then one little
bit will hold up a largely agreed-upon statement.  we must assemble, well
first a list of stuff to argue about, and then get thoughts from as many as
will answer in our group about the topics after we have all heard everybody's
views.  we will then have a collection of opinion statistics which we can
then send off.  and that is all that we should simplify it to, since an
'official averaged opinion' would be objected to by almost everyone.

i hope no one will post derisive comments about this letter, since it
contains only a demand for a different way of arguing.


ps, the smiley is supposed to look like :

* |
* |

but instead has an x-mouth.  it is more sensible to be ':x', but i wanted it
to be :

* |
* |

oh well

 Posted by Andrew Oram  - •••@••.••• - Moderator: CYBER-RIGHTS (CPSR)
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