Big FCC Misstep on Net Neutrality Is Imminent

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A readable article (by economist Bruce M. Owen) that compares net neutrality regulation to the disastrous common carrier regulations of the ICC, highlights a few of the severe problems with such regulations, and their history of utter failure. Does this 120-year old statement that brought in the ICC sound familiar?

“… [T]he paramount evil chargeable against the operation of the transportation system of the United States as now conducted is unjust discrimination between persons, places, commodities, or particular descriptions of traffic.The underlying purpose and aim of the [proposed legislation] is the prevention of these discriminations.”

Murray N. Rothbard had this to say about such agencies:

“Edward N. Hurley, Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission and formerly President of the Illinois Manufacturers Association, happily announced, in late 1915, that the Federal Trade Commission was designed ‘to do for general business’ what the ICC had been eagerly doing for the railroads and shippers, what the Federal Reserve was doing for the nation’s bankers, and what the Department of Agriculture was accomplishing for the farmers.  As would happen more dramatically in European fascism, each economic interest group was being cartellized and monopolized and fitted into its privileged niche in a hierarchically-ordered socio–economic structure. “

Before any net neutrality regulations become permanent, they will meet first and fifth amendment constitutional challenges. Whatever ills and confusions result from the legal processes, the negative effects of net neutrality rules are already predictable both in theory and from past experience with similar kinds of regulations.

9:30 am on December 21, 2010