Goodbye, Net Neutrality. Hello, Liberty.

The New York Times has published a screed with this title: The Internet Is Dying. Repealing Net Neutrality Hastens That Death.
Let me remind you of the basic rule of titling breathless articles: begin with the phrase “the death of” or “the end of.” When you read such a phrase, you can be sure that whatever it is, it is not dying. Whatever it has been in the past, it is likely to be in the future. It is not facing the end.
Here is the logic of the screed.
The internet is dying. Sure, technically, the internet still works. Pull up Facebook on your phone and you will still see your second cousin’s baby pictures. But that isn’t really the internet. It’s not the open, anyone-can-build-it network of the 1990s and early 2000s, the product of technologies created over decades through government funding and academic research, the network that helped undo Microsoft’s stranglehold on the tech business and gave us upstarts like Amazon, Google, Facebook and Netflix.
Nope, that freewheeling internet has been dying a slow death – and a vote next month by the Federal Communications Commission to undo net neutrality would be the final pillow in its face.
Net neutrality is intended to prevent companies that provide internet service from offering preferential treatment to certain content over their lines. The rules prevent, for instance, AT&T from charging a fee to companies that want to stream high-definition videos to people.
The phrase “preferential treatment” is easy to define: high bid wins. It is the organizational principle of the auction.
The mainstream media are Keynesian to the core. The fundamental principle of the free market is this: high monetary bid wins. It is the principle of the auction. Liberals hate most auctions. Yes, they like auctions of incredibly overpriced and incomparably ugly art. They don’t get upset when somebody pays $150 million to buy a piece of tripe painted by Picasso. That’s their kind of stupidity. They like it. But they don’t want the common people to have access to open markets. Open markets are only for the elite, in the view of America’s Left.

This post was published at Gary North on November 30, 2017.

Herbert Hoover: Godfather of the New Deal

Herbert Hoover was worth $4 million in 1914 as a mining engineer and mine owner. This was before World War I, when the dollar bought 25 times more than it does today. He was good at what he did in the private sector.
He gained national fame as a World War I relief administrator: Belgian relief. The Germans let him do this because it freed up food for the German Army: no need to feed occupied Belgium. This is now how the history books tell it. This was the next phase of the legend of “Hoover the Engineer.”
Harding appointed him Secretary of Commerce. Hoover then oversaw the nationalization of the airwaves. He created the Federal Radio Commission, which became the Federal Communications Commission. Instead of selling air space to the highest bidder — the free market solution — he let the FCC license and periodically re-license broadcasters. This became the basis of the second most important cartel after the banking cartel: the media cartel. This was the origin of the mainstream media.
Coolidge kept him on, but he had contempt for him. He called him the “wonder boy.” He once said: “That man has offered me unsolicited advice every day for six years, all of it bad.”
Then he became President. He became the heir of a boom created by the Federal Reserve System’s fiat money. His actions turned what would have been a sharp recession into a depression — a word he coined to replace “panic.”
He then started spending vast quantities of federal money. He also pressured businesses to hold up wages above the market wage levels, industry by industry. This created unemployment. His government created the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to provide government loans to high-risk businesses. Franklin Roosevelt retained the RFC.

This post was published at Gary North on December 21, 2016.

Progressive-Era Economics and the Legacy of Jim Crow

Mainstream historians and economists tend to see the period from about 1900 to 1920 as a glorious time for the Progressive agenda. In 1913 alone, the government headed by Progressive Woodrow Wilson created the Federal Reserve System, direct election of US Senators via voters (and not state legislators), and the federal income tax. The rise of regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration, the Interstate Commerce Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Federal Communications Commission further directed the US economy away from ‘destructive’ laissez-faire and toward a more ‘rational’ model. Likewise, the US government at this time aggressively pursued anti-trust policies that sought to break up or prevent the creation of private monopolies, supposedly protecting the very heart of the American free enterprise system: competition.
Not surprisingly, upon further inspection, we find that the reality was different than the vision historians have produced. As economic historians such as Robert Higgs in Crisis and Leviathan, have documented, the economic regulation imposed by American Progressives actually formed monopolies where none had existed and Progressive policies created new and harmful barriers to entry that blocked whole groups out of occupational lines in the name of creating a better society.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on SEPTEMBER 15, 2015.