Saturday, April 5, 2008

Net Neutrality

I'm slightly in favor of applying common carriage laws to the Internet, although I don't think that allowing Internet Service Providers to create different "lanes" for different kinds of content would be the end of the world as we know it. But it's unfortunate the net neutrality advocates use such cringe-inducing arguments:

"We can’t allow a system of gatekeepers to get built into the network. The Internet shouldn’t be harnessed for the profit of a few, rather than the good of the many; value should come from the quality of information, not the control of access to it. . . . "It would be absurd to let the handful of companies who connect us to the Internet determine what we can do online. . . . "A good idea is still more important than deep pockets."
There are efficiency arguments for maintaining net neutrality. So why does the New York Times insist on giving a platform to net neutrality advocates who still haven't wrapped their minds around concepts Adam Smith laid out in 1776? And why does the Times publish an op-ed on net neutrality by a musician whose success depends entirely on net neutrality? It's a safe bet that he'll argue for the system that made him wealthy, rather than the system that would generate the most wealth for everyone.