Pluralistic: 27 Feb 2022

Today's links

Continue reading "Pluralistic: 27 Feb 2022"

All (Broadband) Politics Are Local

A Chance for Individuals to Make a Difference.

Farmers and co-op members assisting professional telephone pole installers raise a rural phone pole, with rope and pulleys, 1930s.

“We’re the phone company, we don’t care.” –Lily Tomlin

Even before the lockdown, we all hated our ISPs. Comcast routinely won “worst company in America” polls. AT&T was a trash-fire of endless boondoggles and scandals. Verizon charged you $12/month to rent a modem, and also charged you $12/month to not rent a modem. Everyone hated Frontier for its slow speeds, which were revealed to be the result of the company’s practice of “installing” phone lines by tying them to trees with twine or draping them over shrubs. New York State ordered Charter/Spectrum to leave the state and never come back.

Then the pandemic struck, and terrible internet service became a matter of survival: it was how your kids went to school, how you visited the doctor, how you saw family, how you participated in civics and politics, and, for those of us who were lucky enough to have remote-capable jobs, how you earned your living.

The dismal state of the American telecoms industry, where monopolies divided up the country into non-competing exclusive territories like Pope Alexander VI dividing up the “New World,” suddenly became a lot more important.

Continue reading "All (Broadband) Politics Are Local"

Pluralistic: 24 Feb 2022

Today's links

Continue reading "Pluralistic: 24 Feb 2022"

Pluralistic: 22 Feb 2022

Today's links

Continue reading "Pluralistic: 22 Feb 2022"

Pluralistic: 21 Feb 2022

Today's links

Continue reading "Pluralistic: 21 Feb 2022"

We Should Not Endure a King

Antitrust is a political cause, not an economic one

Cartoon depiction of John D. Rockefeller wearing a crown with the names of rail lines that he effectively controlled
Ohio State University Cartoon Research Library

If we will not endure a King as a political power we should not endure a King over the production, transportation, and sale of the necessaries of life. If we would not submit to an emperor we should not submit to an autocrat of trade with power to prevent competition and to fix the price of any commodity. — Senator John Sherman, 1890, arguing for the passage of the Sherman Act

Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit: There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect. — Frank Wilhoit, Crooked Timber

Whoever has the gold makes the rules. — Johnny Hart, The Wizard of Id.

People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. — Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.

Continue reading "We Should Not Endure a King"

Pluralistic: 18 Feb 2022

Today's links

Continue reading "Pluralistic: 18 Feb 2022"

Pluralistic: 17 Feb 2022

Today's links

Continue reading "Pluralistic: 17 Feb 2022"