We’ve moved… ah competition. I love it.

Posted by Jason | Posted in Technology | Posted on 21-10-2010

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As many of you probably noticed, our website has been extremely slow. We decided Godaddy just wasn’t cutting it, so yesterday I went looking for a new hosting company. I found a new one that cost less and appears to be much faster. In the process of migrating, I ran into a snag, and quickly the support staff quickly pointed me in the right direction. Isn’t the free market great? You cannot hold consumers hostage to sub-par service. If you don’t deliver, someone else will.

Here’s to faster page delivery in the future! Cheers!

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John Lennon debunks Malthus’s centuries-old myth in seconds

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics, Technology | Posted on 10-10-2010

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Thanks to some great friends on Facebook, I came across this video of John Lennon addressing overpopulation, which was posted as a tribute to Lennon on his 70th birthday on the LewRockwell.com Blog.

What I love is Lennon’s simplicity of explaining this. I don’t know whether he is familiar with the originator of this idea, Thomas Malthus, or not, but he pretty much explained why Malthus and modern day environmental disciples were wrong about over population.

In the late 1700s, Thomas Malthus published Essays on the Principles of Population, in which he argued that population would grow exponentially resulting in food supplies not being able to sustain it. What Malthus and modern day environuts miss is the human minds ability innovate.

When free markets are not hindered by government dictates, the economics of scarcity spurs the entrepreneur to address these concerns with solutions such as better farming techniques in Malthus’s day or living on the moon as Lennon so nonchalantly puts it. With that little quip, Lennon highlights the entire problem with Malthus’s thesis. Technological advances push back the day of Malthus’s catastrophe.

Because current generations cannot anticipate what future innovations will come, it would be completely immoral for them to decide they must do something now in the current generation to prevent population growth of the future.

The whole premise of this catastrophe prescribes government action as the solution, which would be the exact opposite of what you would want. What you would want to avoid this catastrophe is a free market, where capitalistic profits could direct resources to the most pressing needs.

Let’s say we are approaching the the supposed malthusian catastrophe. As this approaches, what would happen? The demand for food or whatever resource we are talking about would steadily out pace supply. What happens when demand rises while supplies decrease or stay the same? Prices climb. Now, there are two things that would cause the price to rise. 1) The amount of production taking place isn’t sufficient. The total cost of production is unchanged, but the amount of production isn’t keeping up with the growing demand. In this case, profits would rise. As profits rise, competitors would enter the food production business, bringing more food to market. The other scenario 2) is that production is taking place at the highest level with the given resources and profits have shrank to the point of leaving only the most efficient producers. Now, this sounds horrible, but what way could an intelligent entrepreneur increase his profits? He could innovate. He could develop a new way of producing food that would lower his cost of production. Keep in mind that some outsider could produce this innovation as well in hopes of reaping profits when he sells his idea to food producers.

So what happens when this new cost lowering innovation is put into place? Profits rise! What happens when profits rise? More product is produced either by the current producer or competitors looking to get in on the action. All result in more food for the masses, pushing Malthus’s catastrophe further out into the future when another free market entrepreneur can save mankind.

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Predator drones on the border…then what?

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government, Technology | Posted on 28-04-2010

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By way of Hotair, Texas will be getting Predator drones to wage war on drugs. I guess the pro-war folks/anti-immigration folks think this is a good idea.

Here’s the story from the San Antonio Express News. Not only does it get the banner treatment, it gets the all-too-rare exclamation point to boot. In the annals of Drudge-iana, only the red font and the dreaded red-font-with-siren are more esteemed, my friends.

One teensy quibble on my part, though. Isn’t this old news?

An unmanned aerial drone will soon fly over Texas skies as drug-cartel violence continues to escalate on the U.S.-Mexico border, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told a Senate hearing Tuesday.

Texas is the last border state to receive a Predator drone, and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said that has hurt intelligence capabilities to federal, state and local law enforcement on the ground…

Napolitano said Texas was the last Southwest border state to receive a drone because “Texas airspace is more crowded.”…

In Juarez, across the Rio Grande from El Paso, some 700 people have died in shootouts and drug-related violence this year.

So the big news isn’t that drones will now be patrolling the border, it’s that they’ll now be patrolling the Texas border, which … really isn’t big news, especially since Arizona’s had four of these suckers in the air since 2006 and is still having major problems. In fact, the head of the Border Patrol warned back in 2005 that they’d be better off spending millions not on drones but on new agents and/or helicopters, which are far more agile. Henry Cuellar seems sold on them, though, but whether that’s because they’ll put a dent in drug trafficking or because they’re politically useful as security theater to reassure Texans, I leave for you to judge.

And before you ask, no, the drones aren’t armed. Blowing up convoys of bad guys is reserved for Al Qaeda, not drug cartels.

Hot Air » Blog Archive » Drudge banner: Predator drones to patrol Tex-Mex border.

So the answer to 700 people dying in shootouts and drug-related violence is to put military technology in our skies? How about we question the idiocy of our war on drugs. People are dying because drugs are illegal. Push it underground and your only way to solve disputes is to use violence. You sure can’t go suing a fellow drug dealer for infringing on your business, so what do you do? Well, of course, we know what they do. They get their guns out. If you want to decrease the number of deaths, get rid of the stupid drug war.

Also, are people stupid enough to think this is where the use of drones will end? What happens if there is another terrorist attack? You think immediately these drones won’t be called on to start patrolling the entire nation? I’m sure Obama would love to have a few above the tea parties. How about to track down a murder, rapist, or child molester? Wouldn’t people buy into the idea of using such technology on such evil people? Of course they would, and before you know it, we have drones monitoring our every move, spying on us in our houses and making sure you stay in line with what the government says is proper behavior.

Come on Prof, that would never happen. Really? How about tanks? Were tanks developed for war? Of course they were, and now you see them used by police forces across the country. Whatever technology we develop and use in war will eventually be used against us by our own police state. The sooner people begin to realize that, the sooner we can possibly save this country from tyranny. Chances are its too late though.

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There May Be Hope For Internet Freedom – Court Rules Against FCC

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government, Technology | Posted on 06-04-2010

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Today, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals actually stood up for the free market and property rights. Let’s hope this is a sign of things to come.

The DC circuit Court of Appeals gave the Obama administration a big dash of cold water on the limits of its authority to impose rules on communications networks today. In essence, the court recognized Comcast’s property rights to determine its own terms of service for Internet use, and the implications could affect Barack Obama’s plans to mandate broadband expansion as well:

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that the Federal Communications Commission lacks the authority to require broadband providers to give equal treatment to all Internet traffic flowing over their networks.

The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is a big victory for Comcast Corp., the nation’s largest cable company. It had challenged the FCC’s authority to impose so-called “net neutrality” obligations on broadband providers. …

The decision also has serious implications for the massive national broadband plan released by the FCC last month. The FCC needs clear authority to regulate broadband in order to push ahead with some its key recommendations, including a proposal to expand broadband by tapping the federal fund that subsidizes telephone service in poor and rural communities.

via Hot Air » Blog Archive » Breaking: Appeals court rejects FCC authority for Net Neutrality.

Net neutrality is a governmental trojan horse to take control of the internet. This is a win for the good guys. For those of you who may have missed my blog on why net neutrality is a bad idea, you can read it here.

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Say Goodbye To Internet Freedom

Posted by Jason | Posted in Technology | Posted on 05-03-2010

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More and more government seems to be moving in on the freedom we have on the internet. Obama is pushing net neutraliy as a way to protect us from the evils of the companies who have already brought us ever increasing broadband and services. The FTC has begun cracking down on bloggers saying they have to disclose their relationships before blogging about a product. Police want warrantless access to your online data.

Now, the government is going to claim they need to protect us from internet attacks which have been around since the beginning of the internet. Oh no worries though, Microsoft, a company who’s having problems keeping up in the online arena, is backing the government.

A top Microsoft executive on Tuesday suggested a broad Internet tax to help defray the costs associated with computer security breaches and vast Internet attacks, according to reports. Speaking at a security conference in San Francisco, Microsoft Vice President for Trustworthy Computing Scott Charney pitched the Web usage fee as one way to subsidize efforts to combat emerging cyber threats — a costly venture, he said, but one that had vast community benefits.”You could say it’s a public safety issue and do it with general taxation,” Charney noted.

via Microsoft exec pitches Internet usage tax to pay for cybersecurity – The Hill’s Hillicon Valley.

Ok, I’ve always stuck up for Microsoft as far as monopoly claims go, but now I see why everyone hates them. Here is a company, who’s founder has more wealth than many countries, and they are saying the public should have more money stolen from them to “defray the costs associated with computer security breaches”, which are probably made possible by the crappy software they write. Maybe we’d all be better off if we got Apples.

The public should not have to defray the cost for corporate America. Businesses should consider security as cost of business, which they have up until now. The customer ultimately pays, but they are the ones benefitting from security measures. If my bank puts in security software and hires security professionals, am I not the one benefiting? Why should the guy down the street defray my bank’s cost to which he is not a customer?

So what happens once the government taxes the internet and internet security becomes a public good? Well, what happens with everything the government gets involved it. It basically turns to garbage (keeping it clean here). Innovation is stifled. Costs skyrocket.

It is not hard to see what’s coming. The writing is on the wall. Governments absolutely hate freedom. If they see people having too much freedom, they must get worried that the people are consipring against their power. So they do whatever they can to insert themselves into this freedomfest to make sure the people don’t realize that “Hey, this freedom thing works without the government. What if the rest of our lives were like this? ”

But, as I said, the writing is on the wall.

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Cybersecurity Bill To Give President More Power Over The Internet

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government, Technology | Posted on 01-03-2010

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While our government constantly preaches to the Chinese government about freedom of the internet, they are quietly attempting to get control of it themselves.

The president would have the power to safeguard essential federal and private Web resources under draft Senate cybersecurity legislation.

Federal is fine, but what gives the president power over “private Web resources”? This is how they sneak in the ability to take over the internet as a whole. Essential federal and private Web resources pretty much covers everything.

According to an aide familiar with the proposal, the bill includes a mandate for federal agencies to prepare emergency response plans in the event of a massive, nationwide cyberattack.

The president would then have the ability to initiate those network contingency plans to ensure key federal or private services did not go offline during a cyberattack of unprecedented scope, the aide said.

Does anyone have confidence that the government can even pull this off?

Their renewed focus arrives on the heels of two, high-profile cyberattacks last month: A strike on Google, believed to have originated in China, and a separate, more disjointed attack that affected thousands of businesses worldwide.

Rockefeller and Snowe’s forthcoming bill would establish a host of heretofore absent cybersecurity prevention and response measures, an aide close to the process said. The bill will “significantly [raise] the profile of cybersecurity within the federal government,” while incentivizing private companies to do the same, according to the aide.

Oh boy, any time you read “incentivizing” you can pretty much get ready to be robbed. Businesses already have incentives to guard against cyber attacks. Unlike government they are accountable to the bottom line. If the chance of an attack would cost them more than the cost of safe-guarding against an attack, they will take the actions needed. They don’t need government to stick a gun to their head forcing them to do it.

Additionally, it will “promote public awareness” of Internet security issues, while outlining key protections of Americans’ civil liberties on the Web, the aide continued.

Good luck on the civil liberties. The last thing the government cares about is civil liberties.

Privacy groups are nonetheless likely to take some umbrage at Rockefeller and Snowe’s latest effort, an early draft of which leaked late last year.

When early reports predicted the cybersecurity measure would allow the president to “declare a cybersecurity emergency,” online privacy groups said they felt that would endow the White House with overly ambiguous and far-reaching powers to regulate the Internet.

It is unclear when Rockefeller and Snowe will finish their legislation. And the ongoing debate over healthcare reform, financial regulatory reform, jobs bills and education fixes could postpone action on the floor for many months.

I’d say let’s hope it never reaches the floor, but considering the other bills before it, I’m not sure it would be much worse.

Both lawmakers heavily emphasized the need for such a bill during a Senate Commerce Committee cybersecurity hearing on Wednesday.

“Too much is at stake for us to pretend that today’s outdated cybersecurity policies are up to the task of protecting our nation and economic infrastructure,” Rockefeller said. “We have to do better and that means it will take a level of coordination and sophistication to outmatch our adversaries and minimize this enormous threat.”

via Cybersecurity bill to give president new emergency powers – The Hill’s Hillicon Valley.

The only cybersecurity policies that might be outdated are the ones guarding federal computers. That is just more proof of the idiocy of government. Private enterprises on the other hand are not outdated and the highly sensitive businesses take it upon themselves to hire the experts needed and purchase the systems needed to properly security their networks.

As far as government goes, if this truly is just to secure the federal computers under a cyberattack, why do we even need legislation? Shouldn’t the government already be taking action on their own networks through current budgets? I’m sure we don’t require separate legislation to secure our military arsenals. That security is already part of the military arsenal budget itself. Also, wouldn’t the President already have power to declare an emergency over the federal networks?

It would appear that the President and the government already have all the power that they need…well unless they want the power to take control of the entire internet. Let’s not sugar coat this as The Hill and the Senators trying to pass this bill are. The government is pushing legislation for one thing only. They are pushing it to get control over “private Web resources”, the very resources that are already secured by private businesses themselves.

The government cannot be trusted with a power like this. They want to “secure” the internet to make sure if there is ever a challenge to their power from the people, they could cut off communication between those people. It is not to protect us from the boogieman overseas as they always claim it to be. It is to prevent us from ever challenging our government.

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More Random Thoughts About Private Roads

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government, Technology | Posted on 15-02-2010

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Well, it looks like private roads are going to be an ongoing brain fart here. You can read previous posts on the subject here and here.  Almost every time I get in the car and deal with the frustrations of driving, I can’t help to wonder what private roads would be like.

Yesterday, we were coming to a light by our house, and I usually go straight through the light and avoid the main road, because the main road always has traffic backed up. Of course, there are signs now on the road I normally take saying the road will be closed beginning next week. This is all too typical where I live. Of course, there is no incentive for permanently fixing roads. That would cost government jobs and union votes.

Anyway, of course with my recent posts on private roads, I had to ask myself would this be treated differently with private roads? To delve into this question, let’s just say the roads are toll roads, since that is the what most people think of when it comes to private roads. Now if all roads were toll roads, it would be crazy to think there would be actual toll booths. People would take ages to get anywhere. So, for sake of discussion, we are going to assume there is some type of monitoring technology using either GPS or radio frequency for the toll road charges.

Now, if you are a company who operates the toll roads, do you want your roads closed? This road that I take to save time would not be making the owner money if he closed it for repairs. Maybe he owns the main road too. That is my other option, but he would still end up losing business because people may reroute completely considering they avoided the main road in the first place before additional traffic was put on it.

Maybe a competitor sees an area along the main road that would be better suited for traffic than the road that is closing down temporarily. Wouldn’t this be a great time to open a new road and get a boost in initial business from the drivers that normally took the closed road. Maybe those drivers never go back to the previous road when it re-opens, and you are not able to compete.

What I am getting at here is the profit motive would drive business to minimize the inconvenience on drivers. It also might entice a smaller outfit to get in the business of building side roads to capitalize on the drivers who want to avoid the traffic of main roads.

Another issue that drives me nuts around my house is they have torn up the main road to lay fiber (I believe that’s what it was), and they half assed the filling in. The road feels like you are out four wheeling. Now, if your business depended on tolls, would you let your road be like that? How many people, who take care of their cars, avoid that road, and how much money would be lost if that road was private?

OK. Second thing that prompted random thoughts about private roads was Popular Science magazine. We went to the in-laws house for lunch, and I took my magazines to catch up on reading them. What the heck, right? So, the one article is about how to renovate America’s infrastructure. The article talks about all these new technologies for roads, bridges, etc. You can read it here. There is some very cool technology such as cars reporting potholes, self healing roads, and roads the de-ice themselves (would be huge right now where I live).

So, we already spend a fortune under the government system, and we never get new technology. If you had self-healing roads and roads that de-ice themselves, you’d lose union jobs. So, it would appear that all these technologies would find their way into our road systems much faster under a private road system, because they would increase profits and improve a road operators competitive advantage.

Also, the chances that it would take new technology this long to be developed and implemented would be slim to none. Technology of road systems would constantly be updating and changing. I could see private interstates partnering with carriers to market their roads as having the best cellular access for your long trips. There is no doubt there would be private road operators and other service companies partnering up to make your driving experience better.

As I said, these were just some ideas that came to mind while out driving this weekend. I’m sure I’ll have more as time goes on.

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Combat Robots – Cheapening life and making war easier to swallow

Posted by Jason | Posted in Foreign Policy, Technology | Posted on 01-02-2010

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As a former Neo-con, I used to love our fighting technology. What better advantage can you have than killing the enemy from miles away from the safety of some compound.

The problem with this is it makes the enemy’s life cheaper, and it makes it more likely you’ll instigate wars. If you are weighing whether to go to war and you know you can kill the other side without your own troops being harmed, do you think that will make you less likely or more likely to wage more wars?

Also, using robots, drones, etc, makes us think that the other side isn’t human. It’s like playing a video game. The problem is the other side is human. While terrorists should be killed, we cannot ignore collateral damage. Do you think the children of a mother accidentally killed by a drone will forgive the US for their mothers death? Will they grow up to be future terrorists in hopes of avenging their mothers death? Keep in mind the only difference between us and them is our respective governments. Chances are if peoples of both sides met on the streets as individuals, we’d say hello, excuse me and be polite. It’s only the belligerence of our governments that make us enemies.

So, back to the robots. Do they make us safer? Maybe in the short run they keep our soldiers safe, but what happens when a possible enemy creates the same technology? All the sudden our compounds are not as safe. Maybe they use robots to infiltrate our compounds, where our soldiers are controlling their robots. Not only that, what happens if terrorists get their hands on robotic terror? How much easier would it be to wage holy war with robots?

While I love technology (I work in the technology field), I think we hasten war and destruction by using technology to take life. Nothing makes you consider the cost of life in war as much as a higher chance of losing yours. We should use technology to create better defenses and for protecting life. We should pause when it comes to aggressive, life cheapening technology. While it may makes billions for defense contractors, in the long run, it poses a major threat to the people of our country. Never forget, these technologies would also be the weapons used against citizens if they ever tried rising up against an oppressive government.

YouTube – Army of the Future: Russian combat Robots.

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How long until your computer is monitored by the government?

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government, Health Care, Technology | Posted on 03-01-2010

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Many blogs had a year in review type of posting on New Year’s Day.  LewRockwell.com had one with this Glenn Beck video where he discusses the how auto dealers’ computers became federal property when they logged into the cash for clunkers computer system.

While I remember this story, it got me to thinking. Many people assume this is no big deal. This is just car dealers. It doesn’t effect them. Well, that is very short sighted. Number one, even if it went no further than the dealer’s computers, how do you know the government isn’t gather information on you via the dealer. After all, you probably filled out a loan application. Did your earnings on your application match what was reported to the IRS? Any way, that is a fairly minor issue compared to what could happen.

As you know, many computers are infected daily because most users don’t pay attention to what they are clicking on. Some window on the internet pops up, and the user clicks yes, no, close, etc. When they do that, their computer becomes infected with spyware. This sounds very similar to what the federal government did to the auto dealers. So, how would they do this to regular people? Well, we’ve all heard about the new market place where we can all shop and compare insurance plans that meet federal standards. Is it that far fetched to think, when you login to this “insurance marketplace” that the government couldn’t have a similar warning? Do you think most citizens would even pay attention?

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Wireless Carriers Running Out of Capacity … Hmmm, Wonder Why?

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government, Technology | Posted on 30-12-2009

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Over the holidays, AT&T had bandwidth issues with their iPhones. Here is an example of what you get when government controls resources.

AT&T previously acknowledged that its network has been overwhelmed by iPhone users in New York and San Francisco, where dropped connections and long waits for running programs are not uncommon. These data-hungry cell phones compete for bandwidth with broadcast TV, radio and Wi-Fi networks, and wireless carriers like AT&T and Verizon say that they’re running out of capacity.

We’re told that the situation in New York City over the weekend had mostly to do with AT&T underestimating iPhone demand. But unless policies for allocating spectrum become more conducive to new technologies, turning away potential customers could become more frequent.

The reality is that the demand for mobile broadband is exploding, thanks to the popularity of the iPhone and rivals like the Palm Pre, the Blackberry and Verizon's Droid. According to the Federal Communications Commission, the use of smart phones has grown by nearly 700% the past four years, and mobile data are increasing at a projected rate of 130% annually as more people use their phones to send photos and watch videos.

Spectrum is finite, but it doesn’t need to be as scarce as it is. The problem is how the frequencies are being managed. Less than 10% of the spectrum coveted by wireless carriers has been allocated for commercial use. Much of the rest is controlled by the government. Television broadcasters and satellite companies also possess excess spectrum that could be made available to wireless carriers. Competitive bidding is the best way to allocate spectrum, but the government auctions are much too infrequent—only two in the past four years—and the licenses often come with cumbersome restrictions. The result is congested networks, frustrated customers and slower innovation.

Legislation sponsored by John Kerry and Olympia Snowe in the Senate, along with Henry Waxman and Rick Boucher in the House, would mandate an inventory of available spectrum to identify bands that are unused or underused. It’s a good place to start.

via Wireless Carriers Running Out of Capacity – WSJ.com.

Government action, especially from idiots like John Kerry, is not a good start in my opinion. The reason the allocation of spectrums is not in accordance with the demand of users is because the government allocates them. The government decides which bands are allocated for which type of technology.

Government never allocates resouces well, so why would anyone think that this is different. The market should allocate the spectrums. In the market, if cell phone usage is growing, the value of spectrums used by another technology would increase. If that technology is not growing, or in many cases shrinking, then those spectrums would naturally be put up for sale to make profits for the companies who’s technology isn’t in as much demand anymore.

Why aren’t these allocated by the market? Well, I’m sure people believe these are a public good, and that government must control these. Government must protect us from…. Anyway, they probably say that some wealthy guy will swoop in and buy them all up. Yeah, I’m sure a very rich guy would outbid the likes of AT&T, Verizon, Apple, etc. I’m also sure he’d love to have his money tied up in something if he can’t produce profits from it.

“Yeah Prof, but what about the speculators?”, you say. Well, what’s wrong with speculators. If speculators bought up some spectrums, what would be wrong with that? “Well, they’d drive up the price, Prof.” True, but who says that’s a bad thing. Ask yourself, what are they speculating on. Speculators don’t just buy things up for grins and giggles. They buy them up in anticipation of some news that will make their investment worth more money. Let’s say there is a new technology that comes out next week, and that technology needs a band on the spectrum. Now, let’s say all the spectrums are taken. Oh, wait, the speculator has a band. It may be pricey, but it’s available for sale. The speculator made a good bet, and he’s about to reap his reward. Now, if it wasn’t for that speculator, there would have been no unused bands available for sale. The speculator rationed the bands for us. Not only that, he didn’t sell it at low fixed price like the government would (just to be fair) to someone who would willy nilly buy it for some technology that no one uses. He held it out for a technology that had enough demand that the price he was charging was still a good investment. In other words, he made sure that the most people possible got the benefit.

The government on the other hand would allocate bands based on politics. What is the most beneficial way for them to use these spectrums to get re-elected. It always comes down to re-election. They use our supposed public goods against us to entice us to re-elect them again and again. All this does is encourage them to find new public goods, which is confiscated from private goods, to gain more power over us.

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