Responding to Martin Geddes

There are lots of social values created by internet use that aren’t adequately “paid for” by individual internet subscribers, and aren’t appropriately appropriated by network owners.  Innovation is one of those positive spillovers that we don’t want to allow a single property owner to own forever, because the second innovator might do a better job with the idea.  Same thing online — the network owners shouldn’t necessarily be allowed to internalize all of these externalities, because we can’t assume that optimal social values will be the result.  Rewarding a single innovator isn’t always the best thing to do.

This was a poor excerpt to illustrate the title, it’s just such a good point I wanted to bring it out.  Benefits that don’t accrue to the operator, essential, the more the merrier.  Relates to monopoly generally, telco, copyright, patent et al.  A point that those dismissing Metcalfe’s Law overlooked, no the n^2 factor does not accrue to the operator, leaving value on the table makes renting seats at the table easier.

More selected Martin Geddes

Killing the copper and income inequality

Why is all of this happening with so little policy response?

InĀ Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America (2012), author Martin Gilens makes a data-driven case for the following proposition: The responsiveness of government policies in America is strongly tilted towards the most affluent Americans. Indeed,”under most circumstances, the preferences of the vast majority of Americans [including the middle class as well as poorer Americans] appear to have essentially no impact on which policies the government does or doesn’t adopt.”

Who’s affluent? The top ten percent – including all members of Congress and most policymakers.

Universal service, still a good idea.

When We Wage Cyberwar, the Whole Web Suffers

Given the undeniable benefits that the open global Internethas brought to the U.S., building moats around our networks andsubjecting them to constant, unaccountable audits and otherrestraints — all in the service of an immense onlinewarfighting machine staffed by military contractors — would beburning the village in order to save it. It cannot be that wehave lost our national ability to think creatively, expand ourpolicy options and engage with other nations to introduce theconstraints of the laws of war into online settings. In space,we???re pursuing an international code of conduct that will governacceptable behavior. We need to translate those norms tocyberspace.

The Case for Publicly Owned Internet Service: Susan P. Crawford

Right now, state legislatures — where the incumbentswield great power — are keeping towns and cities in theU.S. from making their own choices about theircommunications networks. Meanwhile, municipalities,cooperatives and small independent companies arepractically the only entities building globally competitivenetworks these days. Both AT&T and Verizon have ceased theexpansion of next-generation fiber installations across theU.S., and the cable companies??? services greatly favordownloads over uploads.

Congress needs to intervene. One way it could help isby preempting state laws that erect barriers to the abilityof local jurisdictions to provide communications servicesto their citizens.

Running for president in 1932, Franklin D. Rooseveltemphasized the right of communities to provide their ownelectricity. ???I might call the right of the people to ownand operate their own utility a birch rod in the cupboard,???he said, ???to be taken out and used only when the child getsbeyond the point where more scolding does any good.??? It???stime to take out that birch rod.