Monday, December 29, 2008

Regulatory Cacophony

One of the goals of The Technological Liberation Front is to reverse the perceived dangerous trend in over-regulation. This is an admirable goal that everyone, even me, could agree with. While the majority of posters call for less regulation to foster the free market system; there is also a whisper that our country needs to take a "strong stance" to protect so-called intellectual property.

Adam Thierer expresses the viewpoint of most posters with: "One of the reasons that so many of us here take issue with proposals to expand regulation of communications, broadband, and media markets is because we have studied the horrendous inefficiencies of economic regulation in practice. We oppose regulatory proposals not because of a “blind faith” in free markets, but because we understand that even when markets stumble they correct themselves quicker and more efficiently than regulatory systems do."

But then when the necessity to protect so-called intellectual property is raised there are vague references to undefined entities obligated to protect so-called intellectual property. Drew Clark writes: "Nations ranging from Brazil to Brunei to Russia are failing to properly protect the intellectual property assets of US companies and others, and international organisations are not doing enough to stop it, seven IP attach├ęs to the US Foreign and Commercial Service lamented recently." (emphasis added). Reading between the lines this is a clear call for greater regulatory involvement by government, not less.

For example the US Chamber of Commerce (as Drew writes) has provided some clarity by calling for the appointment of: " “a well-qualified undersecretary and director” - with a nine-point list of job qualifications - and also to “enhance organisational management” and “improve the retention of patent examiners.” This has the look, feel, and smell of regulation.

Essentially we are left with a logical disconnect concerning the concept of regulation. Certain agencies such as the Federal Communication Commission and the Federal Trade Commission are routinely villified as "bad" because they regulate business in the name of the Public Interest but then we do a conceptual 180 deggree turn when a "good" government regulatory agency is needed as a private police force for the benefit of business. In recognition of this trend, TechDirt writes "Senate Wants to Send US Copyright Cops to Foreign Countries".

In conclusion, the goal of deregulation is being usurped by a call for more special interest regulation to protect businessess. Regulation, should be for the creation of a "level free-market playing field" not as a means of favoring special corporate interests. Essentially, we are seeing the emergence of Corporatism. Under Corporatism the government is essentially reduced to being a lacky of corporate interests. A nation of, by, and for the corporation.

1 comment:

Shery said...

Wow! Well written. Throughout the blog I was like a pancake being tossed trying to figure out which side to fall on. However, your closing statement brought it all home. I completely agree.