Saturday, April 9, 2005

ISP Socialism

Apparently, the bureaucratic busybodies in charge of Philadelphia think they can make socialism work. You see, all the other attempts at socialism that failed (Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, Cuba, China before economic reforms, basically ANY POOR COUNTRY IN THE WORLD)...they just got it wrong. All those people combined just couldn't get it right. But Philadelphia can.

You see, the City of Philadelphia has decided to get into the ISP business. Sure, the idea sounds great...high speed internet access for all at only $20 per month! No more annoying corporations to deal with. No more annoying *competition*. No, now you can just trust the government to provide with you with all the internet you need.

I mean, why do we need those nasty corporations, anyway? They only invent the technology and then market it so effectively that it becomes widely avaialable. They only wade through the morass of government regulations to still provide at worst decent service that steadily improves over time.

You don't need to be Harry Browne to realize that this Philadelphia plan is just another pie-in-the-sky socialist pipe dream fraught with unforeseen consequences and expenses that will inevitably doom the program. At its best, the Philadelphia plan will only stagnate the decrease in price of internet access, as it will essentially control the market more powerfully than any monopolistic corporation could ever dream of.

And, since the City of Philadelphia has comparatively no expertise in such technology, I'm sure the costs borne unto the city will steadily increase. When this happens, some realists will try to raise fees, and this will work for a while. But then the citizens, addicted to their below-market rate internet access, will demand a price freeze. The desperate, power-hungry bureaucrats will capitulate, and start subsidizing the service.

Meanwhile, in locales where the city hasn't decided that it's figured out what neither Karl Marx nor Fidel Castro ever could, the price of internet access will steadily drop. Ultimately, those areas without government-sponsored internet access will enjoy cheaper, higher quality service, while Philadelphia will be stuck with an aging system whose quality will be reminiscient of the abundance (or lack thereof) of toilet paper on the shelves of Soviet grocery stores during the 1980s (you remember those news reports, right?)

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